There are parenting books that offer advice on every topic from sleeping through the night to what to feed kids. But raising kids with confidence and respect isn’t something that’s always found in books. Sometimes it’s as simple as words of encouragement and daily conversations with our little ones that will matter more than grand gestures. In that spirit, we’re sharing 20 things to say to your kids every day. Scroll down to read them all.


1. Eat something healthy with your snack. Because let’s face it, not all snacks are healthy. But we can at least complement good food with the not-so-great choices.

2. Tell me one good thing that happened today. Focusing on the positive helps keep the bad stuff at bay.

3. Tell me one bad thing that happened today. It’s important to talk about the bad stuff too.

4. I’m proud of you for doing XYZ. Something about a kiddo hearing someone is proud of them has a big impact. Think of one positive thing and tell your little one about it.


5. What would you do? This is a great response to kids always asking for help with things. Empower them while giving yourself a break.

6. What nice thing did you do or say today? Encourage kindness by reinforcing it daily.

7. I like it when you … Even when the kids are driving you crazy, there’s always at least one thing they did that made you smile.

8. I like you. Kids may hear the words “I love you” on a regular basis, but do they know you like them too?

9. Clean up your toys, dishes, or whatever is left out. Encourage kids to take ownership for cleaning up their belongings. Even if it’s just one or two items a day, it will help you in the long run.

10. That’s smart thinking. Sometimes hearing you’re smart is even more powerful than telling a kid they look cute.

11. Don’t let mean people define who you are. There will always be bullies in life. This simple phrase helps kids know the negative voices are not the most important.

12. I’m proud of you. They know you love them. But do they know you’re proud of them too?

13. Thank you. Social skills and courtesy are important in the home and outside of it.

14. I’m sorry. We all lose our temper or make mistakes. What’s important is how we react.

15. Do your best. It’s not about the result. It’s about how you get there.

16. Always tell the truth, even if it’s not great. The sooner kids know you’ll still love them after hearing the truth—even if it’s not great—the more truthful they’ll be as they grow.

17. Just be yourself. Teach your kids they’re enough, and they never have to be anyone else.

18. You don’t have to eat it. It’s tough to deal with picky eaters. Instead of fighting with your kids to eat their veggies, give them the power to say no and be in control. But don’t provide an alternative meal choice or dessert either.

19. You make me happy. Because everyone wants to feel like they matter to someone else.

20. I love you. There’s really no substitute for these simple and powerful words.

Do you have more compliments to add to this list? Share your thoughts in a comment below!

— Leah R. Singer