The words of encouragement we use for our kids can help mold them. How they are as adults can partially depend upon what we say to them now. That’s why it’s important to choose the right encouraging words, praise them when it’s deserved, and use language that builds self-esteem.
Researchers looked at babies whose parents praised the effort the baby made when attempting a new task compared to those whose parents praised the child themselves. A parent who is praising the effort might say something like, “Wow, that was a good throw.” A parent praising a child would say something like, “Wow, you’re a fabulous ball thrower.”
The babies whose efforts were praised became children who were more likely to enjoy challenging themselves and trying something new, or something more difficult (1).
So, to ensure you use the words and phrases that are most likely to have a positive effect, here’s our list of 100+ words of encouragement for kids.
Words of Encouragement for Kids Taking a Test
How hard you try is what’s important, not the grade you get at the end.
You’ve got this.
I am proud of you.
We are always proud of you, no matter what the result.
Don’t panic — you’ve prepared all you can.
Take your time and do your best, that’s all you can do.
I know you’ll try your hardest.
You’ve worked hard to get ready for this test.
Remember, the result of your test is not a reflection of you as a person.
Your test result feels important today. In the future, you won’t remember your grades but you will remember how hard you worked for them.
We will never be disappointed in you. We know how hard you work.
If you try your hardest, you’ll get an A+ from me, no matter what your test score is.
This test is important, but you being happy is more important than any test could ever be.
Do not worry about failing the test. You’ll be a winner as long as you try your best.
Words of Encouragement for Kids Who are Sick
I know it’s rough being sick, but you will get through this.
You are strong. This illness will pass and you will be stronger than ever.
Our love cannot make you better, but it can help you feel better. We give you all of our love so you can feel as well as possible.
There is no need to worry. Everyone gets sick. Just listen to the doctor and they will help your body get well again.
Even when you are sick, you manage to smile. I am so proud of you.
Being sick feels terrible, but it gives us the chance to spend more time together, and that is always wonderful.
Resting today will make you stronger tomorrow.
Doctors can be scary, but they are here to help you get better.
I know you are worried about being sick right now. It’s natural. Just be sure to share your worries with me so I can help you.
Don’t feel you need to be strong right now to protect other people. It is our job to take care of you, so you don’t need to put on a brave face.
Words of Encouragement for Kids In Sports
You are ready for this.
Your team’s result is not your responsibility alone.
You have worked hard for this moment, go out there and show them what hard work looks like.
Helping your team members is as important as practicing yourself.
Congratulations, all of your training has paid off. Does that hard work feel worth it?
You have trained hard for this. No matter what the result, you can be proud of the effort you have made.
How much I love you can never change. You do not have to win for me to love you more than I could ever tell you.
Your hard work and tenacity make you a winner, not your place on the podium.
You are an example to your friends and siblings. They all admire how you never give up.
The effort you put in is more important than winning.
What you just did made me so proud.
I admire your determination.
I could never have done what you just did. Your spirit is so inspiring.
Words of Encouragement to Thank Your Child
It makes me smile when I see you being so kind.
Thank you for being you.
I am grateful that you are my child.
Thank you for sharing those thoughts with me.
It was very brave to do that, thank you.
Thank you for being so respectful. It means a lot to me.
I appreciate what a kind and thoughtful child you are.
Thank you for being a good brother/sister.
We are all thankful for your generosity.
Your teacher says you worked very hard. Thank you for making such an effort.
Thank you for always helping others.
Words of Encouragement to Inspire Your Child
Keep coming up with those creative ideas of yours.
Look how much your hard work has paid off. You have done a fabulous job.
Never be afraid to try something new.
Your reading is really improving. That’s because you didn’t give up when there were words you did not know.
The stories you tell are so imaginative. I love where your imagination wanders.
Nobody is great at a new activity when they first begin. But by working hard, you can become the best you can be.
Don’t give up when things get tough.
Be yourself and let the real you shine.
Being the same as everyone else is not important. Being a good person is.
You can make a difference.
Your artworks brighten up my day.
Words of Encouragement When Your Kid Has a Bad Day
Yes, today was a bad day. Let’s make tomorrow better.
Your day might have been bad, but that is not a reflection of you.
Know that whenever you have a bad day, I will still be here to love you.
We are here to help you.
You are not alone in this.
We all have bad days sometimes. Tell me about yours.
I am so proud of how you handled such a difficult day.
You are strong enough to get through this.
You are not responsible for everything that happens.
The things that went wrong today were not your fault.
You cannot make everyone happy. Don’t feel bad about that.
You’re home now. Would you like a hug?
What exactly was bad about your day? If we can work that out, we can work out how to avoid the same thing happening again.
Words of Encouragement When Your Child is Struggling
This may seem difficult right now, but once you’ve worked through it, you’ll feel much better.
Stick with it, you’ll be glad you did.
I am proud of you for trying so hard.
Keep up the good work.
This will be worth it.
There’s nothing wrong with making mistakes.
We make mistakes so we can learn from them.
Everyone feels overwhelmed at some point. It does not make you weak, or a failure.
You can always come to me if you are struggling.
If you are struggling, and it is making you unhappy, there is no shame in giving up.
No matter what happens, I love you.
General Words of Encouragement for Kids
It’s OK to give up sometimes.
Life is not easy, but you are a loving person who is loved in return. That is the most important thing.
Being with you brightens my day.
You are a fabulous friend. _______ is lucky to have you there for them.
If I had to draw a picture of someone kind, I would draw a picture of you.
Do you know why animals like you so much? It’s because they can feel how kind you are.
There is nobody else in the world quite like you. I wish there were more of you.
You always know the right thing to do, and more importantly, you always do it.
Anyone can be the same as everyone else. It is courageous to be yourself.
Never feel embarrassed to stand out. Standing out is what makes you special.
Sometimes it is better to sit back and think, than to jump in and act.
You cannot control other people, but you can control how they make you feel.
It is not your job to fix everyone’s problems. Sometimes all you can do is be a good friend, and you are excellent at that.
When you feel lonely or scared, close your eyes and remember I am always there for you. You carry me in your heart so you never have to be alone.
Nothing you can do could ever stop me from loving you.
You cannot change the past, but you do have some control over the future.
How other people treat you says more about them than it does about you.
Whoever you love is very lucky to have you feel that way about them.
I am grateful to have you as my child.
The Benefits of Encouragement
When we use words of encouragement for kids, we are doing so much more than just saying something nice.
Instead, we are:
- Teaching our children to believe in themselves.
- Helping them to develop their character.
- Laying the groundwork for a lifetime of more positive relationships.
- Motivating our children.
- Teaching our children that what you say can make a difference to other people.
However, it is not as simple as just saying, “You are fabulous,” or throwing out other random, compliments.
For your children to reap the benefits of words of encouragement, you need to use the right words, in the right way, at the right time.
So, how do you do that?
How to Encourage Kids with Words
When you encourage your kids with words, it is important to focus on the efforts your child is making, and not on their level of talent or achievement.
Efforts Not Achievements
When you focus on talent or achievement, your child’s self-worth becomes attached to those talents or achievements. Then, when they experience a failure or a setback, they will see it as a personal failure. They will see themselves as failures.
Instead, by focusing on your child’s efforts, you will teach them that they have control and help them build resilience and determination.
Too much praise and encouragement can backfire and have the opposite effect of what was intended.
Constantly telling your child they are clever, talented, or beautiful can cause them to have an over-inflated sense of self-worth. This causes them to tie their value as a person to how fantastic you say they are.
By tying their value as a person to how fantastic they are, as soon as they do something that is not successful, they feel they are a failure as a person. That can be psychologically devastating (2).
They can also stop making an effort because they believe they do not have to — they’re already perfect in their own eyes because of the wrong inspirational words.
Choose Your Words Carefully
By using the correct words of encouragement, you can help build your child’s self-esteem and self-worth in a healthy way.
This can lay the foundations for a lifetime of determination and resilience.
That comment you make today, telling your child the important thing is that they always try, might be the thing that gets them through an important job interview or a critical negotiation at work.