The 10 most powerful positive things to say to your child. Parents often don’t realize how large of a role the language they use around their children actually plays in the development of their communication skills. The Pew Research Center recently asked parents across America what they thought was the most important skill a child needed to get ahead in the world. They showed each parent a list of ten different skills and asked them to identify which they thought should be number one. The winner, by far, was communication. In fact, not only was it chosen as the most important; but it beat the more traditionally accepted top skills such as reading, writing, and teamwork.
Parents must remain aware that what they say and how they say it, can shape a child’s thought patterns. What you choose to talk about, or avoid talking about with your kids, can directly affect how they interact with others not only when they are children but when they are grown up and forming their own relationships.
Give your kids the best start in life by intentionally including the following statements in your interactions with them as often as you can:
1. POSITIVE THINGS TO SAY TO YOUR CHILD: I LIKE YOU
Telling your child that you like them is different from telling them that you love them. By all means use both, but make sure to say ‘I like you’ from time to time, as it shows that you value your child for who they are and enjoy being around them. It also shows that you recognize their individual personality, which is a great confidence boost.
2. TELL ME MORE
By asking your children to ‘tell me more’, you are showing that you value their opinion and want to hear more about their ideas. It is also a great way to get children to open up about their thoughts, feelings and ideas with you.
3. THANK YOU
Saying thank you is a simple way to show respect and courtesy to your child. Good manners are a cornerstone of social skills, so instilling these in your children from an early age will set them up well for the future.
4. YOU’RE A FAST LEARNER
Saying “you are a fast learner” is one of the most powerful positive things to say to your child. Children learn in lots of different ways. Recognizing that even play gives opportunities for learning will in turn give you lots of reasons to tell your children that they are a fast learner which will increase their self-esteem.
5. LET’S READ
Reading is an amazing way for children to increase their vocabulary, gain confidence in their abilities, and access a world of fun and imagination. Reading fluently is also a very helpful skill to have in school and life in general. Regularly suggest that your children read to you and instill in them a love of learning from a young age.
6. HOW ABOUT WE AGREE TO…
Establishing how your family reaches an agreement helps avoid any arguments and disagreements that could arise when trying to come to a consensus about a decision. The phrase ‘how about we agree to..’ puts forward the premise that you are all making a promise and that your children’s opinions are important in family decision making.
7. WE ALL MAKE MISTAKES
We all make mistakes, and how we deal with them shapes us as people. When you make a mistake, use it as an opportunity to show your children that you take responsibility for your actions.
8. I’M SORRY
By saying sorry to your children when you make a mistake, you not only admit responsibility for wrongdoing; you also raise your own awareness about whatever it was that led you to apologize. This will make you less likely to repeat the action again.
9. WHAT DO YOU THINK?
Asking for input and giving kids a chance to be part of family conversations lets them learn to exercise their decision-making skills and begin to take responsibility for their own choices. Expressing what you think and asking for what you want are fundamental skills that will serve your children well throughout their lives.
Saying YES is one of the positive things to say to your child. It can be all too easy to say no often to kids, sometimes without even hearing them out fully first. Of course, sometimes parents need to say no, but by pausing to think through your children’s request before answering, you will find that you don’t need to say no as much.