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Discover The 60 Best Words of Encouragement for Kids

By Paula McLaren - Norland Nurse NNEB RSH | Updated: 2 September 2021

Today I'm going to share with you my Top 60 Words of Encouragement for Kids & explain WHY they're so important.

Over my 40+ years of parenting experience, these words have NEVER failed me.

And the real reason that words of encouragement are so important is that... 

60 words of encouragement for kids

How you treat and speak to your children will determine how they treat others and your encouraging words and kindness, patience and understanding will establish who they will become and how they will behave later in life.

So read on to find the best inspiring quotes, words of encouragement for kids, kindergarteners and positive messages for all ages of children!

Let's dive right in!

Words are free, words are easy and words are precious.

- Paula -

Benefits of Encouraging Words For Kids

  • Strengthens your child's sense of self worth
  • Boosts self esteem
  • Encourages your child to try hard
  • Nurtures kindness towards others
  • Boosts positive behaviour
  • Motivates your child to reach new goals
  • Encourages self motivation and perseverance
  • Focuses on good behaviour
  • Helps to deflect and downplay bad behaviour
  • Creates a positive and happy atmosphere within the home

How Do You Inspire Children With Words?

Self-worth can begin to develop in children as young as 2 years old and the words that we use as parents are fundamentally important in the development of how our children view themselves. It is important, therefore, to inspire your children by doing positive things and using encouraging words in everyday life.

As parents, we should never underestimate the power of our words.

Encouraging words for kids can be used in so many different ways, from encouraging good eating habits, praising kindness towards others, teaching how to view the world we live in, helping to deal with problems and disappointment and praising when we show love and respect for each other.

You have the power as a parent to inspire your children in all aspects of life by focusing on positive things and using the correct words.

We want our children to be the best they can possibly be with a strong sense of self. Therefore, we need to appreciate that our words and actions can make such a difference to the way our children feel and how they will feel in the future.

Used in the correct context, our words of encouragement for kids can teach our children so much about kindness, understanding, and self-worth, so it is important to choose our words wisely while being mindful of the power they have from day one.

Being a parent is not always easy and very often we are tired and distracted by our busy lives, but words are free, words are easy and words are precious.

We can use kind and positive words every day to let our children know that we love them and believe in them, often in very simple ways when going about our everyday activities.

From the moment you hold your newborn baby and tell them that you love them and how you are so happy that they have finally arrived you are nurturing a sense of self-worth by showing your little one that they are worthy of your love and attention.

As they grow, how you interact with your children and how you interact and respond to them and their achievements will make the difference between them feeling worthy or not.

So, whether it be your 2-year-old's painting, a celebration of when they first put on their shoes by themselves or just telling them that you love them, use encouraging words and remember the power of they have.

Your words should inspire and motivate your children to be the best they can possibly be in an unconditional way.

Top 10 Words of Encouragement For Kids

  1. Thank you
  2. You can do it
  3. Wow you did it all by yourself
  4. Shall we try again
  5. I’m listening
  6. I am so proud of you
  7. That was tough but you did it
  8. I love you
  9. Thank you for sharing
  10. That was so kind of you
listening to your children keep talking

Click Here to see my full list of 60 Words Of Encouragement For Kids!

What to say to encourage a child?

Using positive language appropriately is the key, as you don't want to sound like you are gushing and praising at every turn but rather motivating, praising, encouraging and rewarding good behaviour and effort in a natural and nurturing way.

The below video is a perfect example of what to say... it captures words of encouragement PERFECTLY! If you've got a spare minute, I'd really recommend giving it a watch.

Avoid Over Praising

Over praising is not what you are aiming for, so when looking for the right words of encouragement for kids, try to be sincere and not to fall into the trap of hollow praise.

For example, when your little one shows you their drawing avoid using the age-old 'wow, good job, that is beautiful you are so good at drawing!' rather say 'that is an interesting drawing, I love the colours you have used, tell me about your picture'.

The second statement shows genuine interest in their efforts and does not come across as hollow praise.

Use Descriptive praise

Making your encouraging words specific is also another good way to motivate and praise your children. I find that descriptive praise works really well especially with children that are struggling to take direction.

When your child has done a good job avoid just saying 'well done' but rather elaborate on the task achieved. For example: 'wow you put all the toys in the toy box and the books on the shelves.'

These positive statements have more value to them than the generic 'well done' as they refer specifically to what your child has achieved and in turn, they will understand more clearly what they did that won your approval.

Be positive and enthusiastic When Encouraging

Try to learn to build positivity into the way you approach everyday ups and downs as your children will be looking to you to learn how to deal with these.

If you are constantly moaning and grumbling they will think that is how one should behave, so try to be as positive as you can in their presence and save the moaning for when they are in bed.

Being enthusiastic, doing positive things and voicing your appreciation of the things that they do will motivate your children to behave well. They will experience positive emotions from your praise that will encourage them to behave in that way in the future.

Try and do positive things every day or put a positive spin on every day activities by making them fun. Make putting the toys away, getting dressed and coming to sit at the table for a meal fun and interesting rather than a chore.

Make a star chart, see who can get dressed the quickest, reward tidying up the playroom with sitting down with you to do a book or puzzle or something else they really enjoy doing.

Doing positive things will help lead to positive behaviour.

Regular praise and encouraging words throughout the day are extremely important as it is so easy to let these little triumphs pass by without recognition. Therefore as a parent, a good habit to get into is noticing and praising the little things.

For instance, saying things like 'thank you for coming so quickly when I called' or 'you were so good today when we went grocery shopping it made such a difference'.

Tell your children that you enjoy their company, that you had fun doing things with them and most importantly that you love them.

Be enthusiastic and positive. It will help lead to positive behaviours.

- Paula -

Make your children feel good about themselves

Take opportunities to use encouraging words to point out and model acts of kindness and consideration towards others by teaching them to share, be helpful and praising them when they do.

When your toddler shares their toys or offers you some of their food say 'thank you, that is so kind of you to share' or 'thank you for sharing your toys today that was such a kind thing to do'.

Saying 'thank you' rather than 'well done' is an appreciative phrase rather than an approving phrase. It is important that children learn to behave well and do well in an environment where they feel appreciated for their actions and efforts for their own success and not just for your approval.

You can also empower your children by using encouraging words to motivate them to do a certain task that makes them feel as if they have some element of control over the situation.

So, rather than commanding them to help clear the table or get in the washing, you might say 'who wants to be my champion helper today?' You may be surprised at how differently they react!

Your well-chosen words of encouragement at this early stage will make them feel good inside and this positive feeling will, in turn, motivate them to behave this way in the future, not just for you but for the way it makes them feel.

Top Tip

Children thrive on love and attention, praise for effort and hard work which will nurture the desire to do well and keep going, instilling a strong sense of self, along with an unprompted willingness to show kindness and empathy towards others.

Explain 'why' to your kids

To find the right words of encouragement to help your children behave sometimes needs an explanation and this can be done in a positive way to achieve the desired end result without shouting or shaming.

When teaching your children to respect items such as furniture or their toys a shouted 'don't do that' followed by 'you are so naughty' may initially get the desired result, but will rarely prevent them from happening again.

For example, if your little one is jumping on the sofa don't tell them how much the sofa cost and how hard you had to work for it.

Instead, explain that chairs are for sitting on and that floors are for feet. Often giving them a little mantra to live by will help them behave in the future.

Next time they treat the furniture badly, prompt them by saying 'remember chairs are for sitting on, floors are for feet'. They will soon get the idea and you may even hear them teaching their friends how to behave if they find them breaking the rule.

Chairs are for sitting on, floors are for feet.

- Paula -

Don't shame your children

Shaming your children into good behaviour by telling them they are naughty or bad and that they have made you mad or hurt your feelings does not encourage good behaviour it just chips away and your little one's self-worth.

It helps to remember that children will understand rules or behaviour far better with an explanation as to why that behaviour is not acceptable.

To a child doing these things that appear disrespectful are usually fun and they do not yet understand the value of items bought and paid for by you.

While it is important for children to empathise and care about how others feel it is more productive to teach this by example and talking to them rather than by trying to make them feel bad.

Sowing the seeds of respectful good behaviour with explanations will reap the reward later on as your children grow and you should continue to guide them with kind, encouraging and positive words rather than harsh child discipline.

Never use comparison praise As Encouragement

Comparison praise is when you compare your child's behaviour to that of their siblings or peers by saying things like 'why can't you behave like ........or look at ....... he is being such a good boy, why can't you do that?'.

These are not words of encouragement for kids and will not make your child feel good about themselves or motivated to do better. These words will only make your child feel inadequate and will demotivate and make your children feel they always have to be the best to be valued.

Comparison praise runs the danger of making your children feel worthless when they fail and I can not think of any instance when comparison praise is appropriate.

"I Love You"

"Thank You"

"I Believe You"

Acknowledge Your Children

Acknowledging how your little one is feeling can help them deal with disappointment when you are saying 'no' to something they really want to do. Try saying 'I know" rather than 'no'.

For example, when they want to stay outside when it is time to come inside for tea, firstly, give them a warning that tea time is coming up and then when you need to go inside say 'I know you want to play ball for a bit longer but we have to go in now, two more catches and then it's time for tea'.

This an acknowledgement that you understand their feelings and a definite action to end the activity with clear instruction. This will work far better than a 'right that's it, we are going in now'.

Young children need time to move from one activity to the next and time to process the transition.

I am not maintaining that you will never meet with resistance even if you follow these guidelines and there will be many occasions when you have had a bad day and your patience runs thin and your children just won't comply.

But trying to find the right words for kids is a work in progress and as parents, we are always learning new ways to encourage and help our children to be the best that they can be.

Help Your Child understand their feelings

Finding encouraging words when your child is having a meltdown is not always easy, but helping them understand their feelings is a good way to try.

If you notice that your toddler is resorting to hitting, biting or throwing things out of frustration, then try saying 'I know that you are feeling angry and frustrated, let's hit this cushion instead'.

By acknowledging their feelings and offering an acceptable alternative for them to get rid of their frustration you will be guiding them towards learning how to deal with these emotions in a healthy and open way.

Telling your children when they are too young to vocalise their own feelings to simply not do the negative action without words of understanding could lead to them not voicing their feelings later on in life.

Using encouraging words when your little one is frustrated because things have not gone to plan, is also very important.

For example, if they have messed up while trying to create something, you could say 'that is frustrating, but we all make mistakes. Shall we have another go or would you like to do something else now?'.

From this, they will learn that it is OK to feel disappointed and frustrated but that it's OK to make mistakes. You then offer them the choice to try again or move on thus giving them the power to decide how they wish to proceed.

Acknowledge their feelings. Use "I know" rather than "No".

- Paula -

Praise effort as well as success

Words to encourage kids when they have done a good job or behaved well are obvious ways to be positive and encouraging. It is just as important however to praise and encourage effort.

Making your child feel good about trying their best is such an important life lesson and will help them deal with disappointment and failure later on in life.

Effort deserves a value because if there is a fear of failure, and only success and being the best are encouraged, then life can be very disappointing and unfulfilling.

So, if your little one has tried to do that tricky puzzle, tried to put on their shoes alone, tried to tidy up and struggled, using encouraging words to commend their effort is just as important as praising success.

Saying 'gosh you tried so hard to do that by yourself' or 'I am so proud of you for trying so hard' puts value on the effort they are making. 

How you help your child when they are struggling to achieve or even don't succeed, is just as important as your praise when they do.

Try to remember that well-chosen encouraging words from you will instil a strong sense of self which will lead to better self-esteem. Your children will feel that their best efforts are important and that their self worth does not just rely on success.

This will translate later in life into the ability to handle disappointment and failure giving them the confidence and motivation to dust themselves off and keep trying.

60 Words Of Encouragement For Kids

  1. Let's do something fun together!
  2. Well spotted!
  3. Let's have fun!
  4. You are kind
  5. It's OK to make a mistake
  6. It's OK to feel sad
  7. I'm so proud of you
  8. You are precious
  9. That is beautiful!
  10. I love our cuddles
  11. We love you a lot
  12. Thank you for sharing
  13. I love you
  14. I missed you
  15. You tried so hard, well done
  16. I think you can do it!
  17. You make me smile
  18. Good remembering!
  19. I'm listening
  20. You make me laugh
  21. Good for you!
  22. It makes me happy when you laugh
  23. Let's see what we can do to fix it
  24. What fun things can we do today?
  25. Those were such kind words!
  26. It is OK to feel angry
  27. Thank you
  28. Everyone feels upset sometimes
  29. I believe you
  30. It feels good to share
  31. You can do it!
  32. Keep trying you are almost there!
  33. Wow, you did it!
  34. That was great!
  35. Thank you for helping
  36. You are so helpful
  37. That looks great
  38. Clever thinking
  39. Would you like some help?
  40. Thank you for trying so hard
  41. You were so helpful today
  42. That was so kind of you!
  43. Good thinking!
  44. Wow, you did it all by yourself!
  45. Nearly there!
  46. That was tough, but you did it!
  47. Shall we have another go?
  48. What would you like to do?
  49. Who wants to be my champion helper today?
  50. What do you think?
  51. Shall we try again?
  52. We can try again tomorrow?
  53. I know you can do it!
  54. You tried really hard
  55. Tell me about your picture
  56. You are learning
  57. That was really fun!
  58. That is interesting
  59. You are funny!
  60. I am so happy for you!

Feeling Inspired? Be sure to check out my PRINTABLE Quote Sheet for on hand words of encouragement for kids!

Top Tip

Vary your words of praise to keep them fresh and meaningful.

When to use encouraging words?

Finding the right words of encouragement for kids is not always easy and we should choose our words wisely as we try to help our children deal with tricky situations, frustration, disappointment and having to sometimes do things they don’t want to do.

For example, if your little one is becoming frustrated and not being able to do up their coat you could say ‘Gosh you are trying so hard to be a big girl and do your coat up, I can help with that if you like and then you can put your hat on by yourself?’

Another example, could be to say to your toddler doesn't want to get in the bath say ‘I know you don’t want to stop playing to have a bath, but after your bath you can choose a book for us to read in bed together’. 

If your little one is frustrated because they can not throw a ball as well as their older sibling you could say ‘I know Ollie can throw the ball a long way, but I noticed how well you can kick the ball into the goal’.

You can take lots of opportunities to praise and encourage by paying attention to the little things. Saying simple things like ‘thank you for coming quickly when I called’ or ‘thank you for playing quietly on your own while I was working’ can make all the difference to your little one's day.

Top Tips When Giving Encouragement To Kids

  • Give unprompted praise when they have done something good (i.e. sharing without being asked)
  • Praise effort as well as success
  • Always acknowledge good behaviour
  • Explain what they did that you are praising them for (descriptive praise)
  • Look them in the eye and use their name when you praise them
  • Use your words wisely and be empathetic
  • Don’t criticise or compare in an attempt to encourage good behaviour
  • Lead by example
  • Focus on your child’s strengths
  • Be optimistic with your praise
  • Don’t over praise 

Free Printable Quote Sheet:

FREE Printable Quote Sheet:

Encouraging Words For Younger Kids Infographic

So Remember...

As your children grow older your words of encouragement for kids will become more challenging and in-depth, but if you have nurtured an encouraging environment from a young age your older child will value the words of advice and encouragement that you offer them as they grow.

Never underestimate the power of encouraging words as they are probably, along with your actions, the most important gifts you can give to your children. Remember to...

  • Encourage and praise sincerely and appropriately
  • Do not use praise to control or make it conditional
  • Never use comparison praise
  • Acknowledge your children's feelings
  • Praise effort as well as success
  • Explain your actions
  • Use positive rather than negative language
  • Be enthusiastic in your praise and encouragement
  • Teach your children it is OK to make a mistake
  • Tell them that you love them every day

Now it's down to you:

Which encouraging quotes will you try implementing today?

If you know any other parents who would enjoy this content too, please feel free to share it around!

Words of encouragement for kids Featured Image
Teething to Tantrums Author

Paula McLaren is the founder of Teething to Tantrums and has been in the childcare industry as a Norland Nanny since 1982. Since then, her mission has been to help parents become the best they can possibly be. And each year, she continues to help more families understand their child's development, the trials and joys of parenting and of course, how to care for their little ones.

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