Want to encourage character in your kids? Start looking for things they do well. Then use the following phrases to compliment their good qualities.
“Stop being so lazy!”
“Why are you always so mean to your sister?”
“You just give up too quickly.”
“When are you going to start paying attention?”
As much as I hate to admit it, I’m sometimes guilty of using phrases like that. Rather negative and not exactly encouraging, huh.
Can you relate?
Of course we don’t want to raise lazy, mean quitters who can’t pay attention.
Even a child makes himself known by his acts, by whether his conduct is pure and upright.
But focusing on character qualities we don’t want to see in our kids doesn’t really help them develop good character.
Instead of telling our kids what to stop doing or being, we need to encourage character traits we want to see.
Of course the first way to encourage character is by teaching and modeling the desirable traits. We have to let our kids know by our words and our actions what positive characteristics we want them to pursue.
Then we need to notice when they demonstrate good character and let them know we appreciate it!
Too often I catch myself responding with a vague “good job” or a mere “thank you.” While not necessarily bad, those words don’t adequately acknowledge the character I see developing.
So, I’ve brainstormed a list of more specific phrases I can use. Perhaps you’ll also find them helpful as you encourage signs of good character in your kids.
35 Positive Phrases That Encourage Character in Kids
1. I can tell you’ve been working hard on that.
2. Thank you for taking initiative to do ____________ without being asked.
3. I really appreciate the patience you showed while you waited for ____________ .
4. It makes me so happy to see you protecting your little sister like that.
5. I’m so impressed by the diligence you showed to get your chores done so quickly today.
6. Wow! I like how neatly you put your laundry away this week.
7. You must have been paying attention to remember all those details!
8. I know that ____________ was hard. I’m proud of you for persevering and not giving up.
9. It took courage for you to ____________ . Way to go.
10. I loved seeing a reflection of God’s love when you showed kindness to ____________ by ____________ .
11. I made my job so much easier when you helped with ____________ .
12. I’m so encouraged to see how you’ve grown in ____________ .
13. You were such a blessing to our family when you ____________ .
14. Doing ____________ showed great responsibility. I’m proud of you.
15. I was pleased with how respectful you were when ____________ was talking.
16. Great job making eye contact when you introduced yourself to ____________ .
17. Thank you for telling me the truth about what happened. Honesty is an important quality to maintain.
18. That was so me amazing self-control you just used when ____________ .
19. I’m so thankful for the gentle way you ____________ with your brother/sister.
20. I’ve noticed that you’re doing better at ____________ .
21. Your encouraging words have been such a blessing lately.
22. I’m proud of the selfless way you did ____________ for ____________ .
23. You were very generous to give ____________ to ____________ . That was really sweet.
24. You got so much accomplished today; great job managing your time.
25. It’s so much fun to watch the creative way you ____________ .
26. I love to hear you laugh when you’re enjoying ____________ .
27. I’m so glad I can trust you to ____________ .
28. You have your ____________ organized very well.
29. The discernment you expressed when talking to ____________ certainly helped that situation.
30. I appreciate your flexibility when our plans got all mixed up today.
31. Your cheerful attitude helped us get through ____________ .
32. You were a sensitive listener today when ____________ was having a tough time.
33. I’m impressed with how motivated you are to ____________ .
34. I’m blessed by how humble you were when ____________ .
35. Thumbs up for the thoughtful/considerate way you ____________ .
Is there a particular character quality you want to see your child develop?
- Teach them about it.
- Model it in your daily actions.
- Notice when they practice it.
- Think of ways to compliment them about it.
- Don’t save your praise until they’ve mastered it.
- Recognize small steps in the right direction.
- Encourage each attempt you notice.
What other tips do you have to encourage character in kids?