Apr 6

Encouraging Phrases for Kids #AtoZChallenge 2015 @AprilA2Z

‘E is for Encourage | Positive & Inspired Living A to Z’

I pride myself in having a fairly large vocabulary. However, while interacting with my toddler, I realize that most of my verbal communication with him, comprises of just three words/phrases –  

  • STOP! 
  • NO!

So much so that NO will almost qualify as a reflex action at this point.

D  : Hey Mom, Can I..?
Me: Nope.
D : Hey Mom..
Me: Not now, later.

At the time, I just attributed it to being busy, and not having the time or the energy to deal with it. But, some months back, I made a conscious decision to cut down the negative reinforcements and increase the positive ones.

I decided to read up on it, and in the process gained an interesting insight from an article by a child psychologist, which I want to share. The article that I came across discussed how true encouraging words focus on the deed as much as the doer. This is important to build confidence, and motivate a child from the inside to demonstrate similar positive behavior in the future.

I always used words of appreciation pretty generously to reward positive behavior. The most common ones being –

  • Wow! Good Job!
  • Such a Good Boy!
  • Proud of You!

The article encourages us to replace the above three (which focuses on the doer alone) with the following (which focuses on the doer and the deed) *

  • Look at your improvement. You really did a good job!
  • Thanks for helping me clean up. Such a good boy!
  • That was a tough one, but you figured it out. Proud of you!

*The concept was discussed in the article, but the examples are my own. They are based on what I use on a daily basis. So it is just my interpretation of the idea. Please do let me know if you have any additional insights. Parenting, at its best is a work-in-progress. Hence all comments/suggestions are welcome and very much appreciated.

Lots of Love


This post is written for the AtoZChallenge2015.


  1. Totally agree with it. Positivity reinforces positivity.
    Ruchi Singh recently posted…Emerald VenomMy Profile

  2. Great advice Shanaya and how true that words are powerful and help to build confidence or otherwise. <3 I also have heard that if you have a "not" in a sentence the mind doesn't hear that thus, "Please don't touch that" becomes "Please touch that." 😉 For example, whatever you do, don't think of a pink elephant! What does your mind imagine? …. 😉
    elly stornebrink recently posted…#A to Z Challenge: D is for DancingMy Profile

  3. Parenting is such a great unlearning experience, sane advice.
    Pooja Sharma Rao recently posted…et ceteras (in the memory of my late father)My Profile

  4. I agree, always focus on the positive:-) and true easier to build a child than repairing an adult. Good role models are important. Treat others like you want to be treated and show that to yourkid also. Great post today:-)
    Eli recently posted…E for ExploreMy Profile

  5. Agree Shantala…In fact , it is said when we caution a child the chances of him/her messing up is more. For instance, if a toddler volunteers to keep a glass of water on the table, and we say, ‘oh be careful’; ‘walk slow’…. Our words will sure distract them and and affect their confidence. And 8 out of 10 they will drop the glass. Else they pretty make it!
    Nisha Sanjeev recently posted…Why Anuksha’s googly went viralMy Profile

  6. I agree with you, positive reinforcement rather than punishment works wonders on children. My son went through a stage of eating poorly, Rather than yelling at him, each time he ate well he got a sticker and each time he filled up a page of stickers he got to spend $5 on a toy. After a while eating well and good food became a habit. Good post.
    Suzy recently posted…Love is in the Air – EducationMy Profile

  7. My parents have always been encouraging and supporting. A reason why my siblings and I grew up confident. As I read your post, I could see how words could leave a permanent impact on children.
    Rajlakshmi recently posted…Wanderlust Postcards – EurobodallaMy Profile

  8. Sulekha says:

    Children emulate us and are always watching 🙂 Positive responses make them feel good and they strive to do better.

  9. Its a great post. Let me put it to more practical use for my children.

  10. Prasanna says:

    This is a very useful post. Small kids are so enthusiastic to learn new things and a few words of encouragement, can help boost their morale.

  11. good one

  12. A word of encouragement can sometime mean so much to people, right? Positivity helps a lot always 🙂
    Swathi Shenoy recently posted…EntrappedMy Profile

  13. Yes. It’s always nice to be positive. It leaves its mark on the child too. Nice thoughts!
    Leo recently posted…After The End…My Profile

  14. So true, most of the time we were told not to appreciate children directly, as they will sit on our heads with pride, and may become over confident(its an old school of thought) today I agree that it is important to appreciate children and let them know how precious and special they are, loved the quote and thanks for sharing…
    G Angela recently posted…E – for EgyptMy Profile

  15. Specific praise is so very important. And focusing on effort than outcome. It’s so easy to yell and put down but so much harder to build kids up.

  16. Specific praise is so very important. And focusing on effort than outcome. It’s so easy to yell and put down but so much harder to build kids up.
    Sanch @ Living my Imperfect Life recently posted…E if for Ergophobia #atozchallengeMy Profile

  17. Neither a parent, nor ready to be one as of now Shanaya :P, but your post was truly interesting..
    Keep writing..

    Geets recently posted…E- EnigmaticMy Profile

  18. Awesome post Shantala! You learnt at the right time. Your kid is lucky! We parents learn on the go, there is no school to teach parenting. I was lucky – or should I say my children’s luck changed when I attended a class on mothering and that helped me handle them positively and accept them for exactly what they are – individuals with separate personalities. And thank God for a supportive husband. Neither of them follow what is considered “norm” in this society. What I mean is – they are neither of them a doctor or an engineer 😉

  19. So true! And they say, name your child a name YOU really like. Because you’re going to be shouting it. A lot!!
    Mee Magnum recently posted…#AtoZChallenge Theme RevealMy Profile

  20. That’s a great advise.. As with adults, a little pat on the back works wonders for kids. 🙂
    Parul recently posted…E for ExperimentMy Profile

  21. Positive reinforcement, in many cases, works wonders. We all use negativity so much that we forget!

  22. I always make a point to use good manners with my children even when they were very little. Thanking them, saying please and now that they are adults they use those manners all the time. But all parents have days when we seem to say no all the time.

  23. Seriously, the more “No” and negative we speak, the more negativity we fill in our lives!
    Nibha recently posted…EclipseMy Profile

  24. Who doesn’t like to be praised I say.. a pat on the back and the miracle follows 😉 Loved reading your replies and the change!
    Shashank recently posted…Embarrassment #AtoZChallengeMy Profile

  25. Love this quote. So true!


  26. There’s an expression, always catch a child in doing good. Especially children who manage to get into trouble, need to have the positive things they do praised. No one can survive a diet of only “no” without being stunted.
    Alana recently posted…Earthquake (Bolts)My Profile

  27. So relevant! Never thought of it this way. i don’t have a baby yet.But I’m definitely keeping this in mind 🙂
    Shalini recently posted…Forever alone No more- 6My Profile

  28. Positive reinforcement is so important for children! Your image at the top makes it clear.
    Debbie D. recently posted…#AtoZChallenge: E is for EFFERVESCENTMy Profile

  29. Such a great advice! Encouraging words during childhood can affect the overall development so much, especially in terms of stress handling and relationships.
    Kaddu recently posted…A to Z of Blogging: E – Engagement #atozchallengeMy Profile

  30. Great turnaround for speaking to children. It is so important to have a positive vocabulary and I love how you talk about encouraging from the action.
    Kelly Martin recently posted…E is for EmbarrassmentMy Profile

  31. Appreciating can make a child grow up into better person. And what more we need… 🙂
    Sheethal recently posted…Fara …My Profile

  32. Meghana says:

    I can relate with this post completely as I’ve a small kiddo who’ll do everything tht she is not supposed to. So mostly my vocab also has only “NOs” for her. But yes even I try to encourage her when she does something nice by clapping or cheering her.

  33. I could totally relate to the NO part 😛 My toddler is just 18 months and I already find myself stopping her from climbing over the couch or running too fast. Thanks for sharing ! 🙂
    Eloquent Mind recently posted…Farewell #AtoZChallengeMy Profile

  34. I don’t have kids but I’ve seen how well positive reinforcement works with adults in my training sessions, Shantala.
    Corinne Rodrigues recently posted…Enthusiasm – A to Z of Self LeadershipMy Profile

  35. True, positive reinforcement is the way to go. Kanna’s old school had disciplinary measures based on positive reinforcement, which worked amazingly for him and other kids too. They have a zone board in the classroom. All kids start on Green in the morning. As the day progresses, kids could move up, to silver and then gold based on their good choices and a child would move down to orange and then red if he makes a bad choice. Good choices are listening, writing, reading, completing tasks at hand, saying thanks, please, etc, waiting for their turn, sharing, etc. I felt that way kids are made responsible and they were given a choice to behave good or bad. 🙂
    Vinitha recently posted…How ‘old’ are you? #MicroblogMondays #MondayMusingsMy Profile

  36. I have always conversed with my kids like they were equals…miniature adults. Which is probably why they have big vocabularies and are more mature than their years.
    Kathy recently posted…I Don’t Do CoffeeMy Profile

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