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I’ve got to be honest here, I’m writing this post as more of a reminder to myself to say these positive things to my child. Because lately, things have been rough. We have a newborn and are trying to adjust to the craziness that is going on, which means I’ve been a bit moody. And a bit snappy. And did I mention I had to cut chocolate from my diet? Yeah, that’s enough to make anyone cranky.
All of this means I’ve been saying things in more of a negative way. I haven’t taken the time to process things before responding which means I’m not as positive as I want to be.
So, I’m taking a step back and switching things up (well, trying to) with these 10 positive things to say to your child. I figure if I can add these into each day, then I’m doing pretty darn well.
1 – I Love You
This is one of the most important things you can ever say to your child, and the thing is – you cannot say it too much. It’s just not possible. We say ‘I love you’ so often, but when was the last time you stopped, looked your child in the eyes and said it to them with full conviction?
I know for me it’s so easy to say in passing. I probably say it 10 times a day, at least. But it’s when I stop and hold his face in my hands and say it that I know he knows I truly mean it and he is my most important thing right then and there.
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2 – What Was Your Favourite Thing From Today?
This is one of our favourite conversation starters. My husband started it by asking our son what his favourite thing from the day was at bedtime as a way to distract him from his objections to going to bed.
Not only did it work brilliantly, it also gave him something to focus on that was a positive from the day and taught him how to reflect on it.
3 – It’s Amazing When You Do…
Children love specifics and don’t respond as well to vague comments. Saying ‘it’s amazing when you tidy up all of your toys without me having to ask you’ not only shows your appreciation but it also encourages them to do it again with positive reinforcement.
Not all children respond the same, and ours respond brilliantly to positive reinforcement so we use this one quite often.
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4 – I Love That You’ve Learnt How To….
Kids are learning so many things every single day. It’s incredible really. They are little sponges and should be proud of their achievements. They are far more persistent than adults. How many children do you know who have stumbled on their words and gave up saying ‘nah, reading isn’t really for me’?
Focusing on a particular thing they have learnt gives you a positive conversation to have. Even if it’s as simple as ‘I love that you’ve learnt how to run super fast!’. Watch their little face light up!
5 – You Make Me Smile
I try to tell my son this every single day, because it’s true. Yes he frustrates the crap out of me some days, and there are times where I literally want to rock back and forth in the corner pulling my hair out… but then he does something kind or sweet or uses a word he hasn’t used before or tells me that he loves me or kisses his sister’s head and I can’t help but swell with pride and smile. So I tell him.
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6 – You Can Do It
I don’t know about you but I spend a fair amount of time telling my kids what they can’t do. You can’t climb on that, you can’t eat your banana while on the toilet, you can’t wash your toys in the washing machine, you can’t jump off the slide… kids are creative and have a different level of fear. I say ‘you can’t’ a lot.
So I try to balance it out with ‘you can do it’. I started this really young with my son, especially when he would get frustrated trying to do something. He would often get stuck under a chair and so I would tell him ‘you can do it, you can get out of there’ and encourage him to do it.
Telling kids they can do something helps build their self confidence. Imagine if we had our own little cheer squad telling us we could do all the things we set our mind to…
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7 – Thank You So Much For Doing…
Appreciation and gratitude go a long way for kids and they are such important life lessons that start when we show them our appreciation and thanks. They mimic what we do and their words are a reflection on ours.
I always say ‘thank you so much’ to my son for the things he does and I realised how much he noticed when he came out of his room one day and said ‘thank you so much for making my bed Mummy’. He was two.
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8 – Tell Me More…
Encourage conversation! Attention is one of the most important things you can give your child! And because my 4 year old has the ability to talk through wet cement, I often find myself tuning out to what he is saying. He just talks non-stop!
So, I try to make sure I engage in full conversations with him. Encourage him to tell complete stories and be sure to listen. I love how excited he gets telling me his stories!
9 – I Like Having You With Me
Like a lot of children, my son has this innate desire to not just be near me, but literally be on top of me for the larger part of the day. As a mum with a newborn and a toddler I pretty much have a human hanging off me at all waking (and most sleeping) hours. Which means I’m often asking to not be touched or for a bit of space.
Which is why it’s so important that I remind my son that I like having him with me. It can be as simple as saying you liked spending the day with them or liked doing an activity with them. So positive and so uplifting.
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10 – What Do You Think?
Children have opinions, and lots of them! But asking them directly for their opinion on something gives them a chance to actually think about what’s happening, explain their thoughts and feel valued. Again, it doesn’t have to be complicated, just ask their opinion. And it’s always such a cute response.
Looking back, so many of these phrases are based around conversation and the need to feel valued. Talking with our kids, instead of talking at them, and making them feel valued is the most positive thing we can do.
Heck yeah, it’s hard some days, but just adding at least one of these in each day makes me feel like I’m doing okay at this whole motherhood thing.