We’ve all experienced the sting of hurtful words. But what about the things left unsaid that give us comfort and show love? Here are seven things your child wishes you would say to them more often than you do:
1. I’m sorry
Admitting your mistakes can inspire your child to see that even mommy slips up sometimes. They’re learning from your example, so teach them to say “I’m sorry” by apologizing when you need to.
2. Let’s play together
See your child’s face light up as they grin from ear to ear when you ask to read or play together. If you can’t find time to set aside to play, invite your child to cook dinner with you or stop for ice cream on the way home from the grocery store. Find small ways to include a little time for your child.
3. Mistakes happen
Don’t get angry when your child spills their cup of milk. Your toddler is still working on their motor skills and figuring out what their little hands and fingers can do. Be patient with your child as they’re learning. Turn this into a teaching moment instead: Encourage your child to get out a towel and help you clean up the mess.
4. You must feel…
Validate your child’s feelings. If they tell you about how they fell down at recess and scraped their knee, address their feelings before you try to fix the problem. In this example, you could say, “You must feel sad you got hurt.” Pause to give your child a chance to talk about their feelings. Then you can move on to finding a solution. In this case, a Band-Aid and a kiss from mommy will usually do the trick.
5. I’m proud of you
When you see your child on their best behavior, mention it. Tell them you’re proud of them for sharing their toys or for helping their sister with her homework. This will help your child to feel good about themselves, and when siblings see this, it can encourage them to have good behavior, too. And of course, tell them how proud you are after their big moments in life!
6. You’re beautiful/handsome
Tell your daughter she’s beautiful, and tell your son he’s handsome. Instill this thought in your child at a young age to build their self-esteem as they grow. Compliment them in other ways too, like their kindness and their willingness to help around the house.
7. I love you
Everyone knows children want to be loved. You can show your love for your child by the things you do, but don’t forget the power of the simple phrase “I love you.” Saying this often will help your child know they are loved, even when they make mistakes.
Find every opportunity to say these things when raising your children. With these phrases, you can strengthen your parent/child relationship and raise confident and happy children.
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