My little guy sobbed into my skirt yesterday afternoon because he didn’t get a sticker like the rest of his class.
I couldn’t quite make out the reason why. Probably because he didn’t really understand either.
You can never be too kind
But after a big cuddle and a pat on the back, I said: “You wait, you’ll get a sticker next week because you’re always being kind to your friends. I love that about you.” He beamed and just like that, he was off and running again.
Don’t you just love that about kids? Their resilience is beautiful and enviable all at the same time.
The little exchange between my son and I reminded me that compliments and positive words don’t cost us anything and yet they make such a difference.
All it takes is a little reminder of how precious and effective they can be.
With that in mind, here are nine lovely things to say to your little ones (or big ones) at any time of the day.
“I love it when … “
This could be a bit of praise for a task well done, or just a lovely reminder of a simple ritual you do together. For example, “I love it when on Saturday mornings we can lie on the couch and cuddle in front of the TV.”
“You’re so good at …”
Who doesn’t love being reminded of all the things we do well? It makes you feel good about yourself no matter what else is going on around you. It could be something as simple as the way your loved one draws trees or runs around the park.
“On the day you were born I felt … “
My kids love being told the story of the day they were born. I wrote it down so I wouldn’t forget the details. Obviously, you can leave the hairy bits out! But what a joy for us too, to remember the day they came into our lives and how it felt to be a parent.
“Can you show me how to do that? I think it’s great”
My oldest is great at Lego and has lots of patience with fiddly stuff. I often ask him to show me how to build a car with Lego, or fold up a paper plane. He loves being able to show me what he can do. It’s a sweet role reversal and a great confidence booster.
“I love you”
Never, ever underestimate the power of this simple statement. Say it whenever it comes to mind, before bed at night and the first time you see their little faces in the morning.
“I heard you say <insert something nice/helpful> to your brother the other day. That was so sweet”
Recalling a conversation helps your little one to understand that you notice what they do. This is especially useful for days when lots of stuff has perhaps gone wrong for them. Or they’ve been in a bit of trouble.
“You’re a great friend to X. You always show him where everything is before you start to play”
Being a keen supporter of your children’s friendships is so healthy. It helps them value friendship and gives them the confidence to reach out to others.
“Thanks for being so kind to grandma/daddy/me”
Kindness is such a sorely underrated quality in our society. The more we praise it, the greater the chances of it growing in our own experience. Praise it every chance you get.
Just say, “yes”
Say yes to whatever it is that is making your little one curious/excited. Yes to one more story, one more jump on the trampoline. One more cuddle. A play date. Making a batch of muffins. Watching their favourite movie. They’ll love it.