We all desire good kids, even kids that make us proud in front of other people, however without the purposed attention to building good things in our children, it may work the opposite for us. One of the things that I know a lot of parents do is train their children in manners and they do it well, but stop short of what more they can teach them to really develop the kind of children they desire. I have found that if you focus on teaching your children key phrases that parents want their children to say it will ultimately become part of their character.
20 Phrases Children Should Learn to Say
Children face so much in our culture, today. From abuse, to bullying, to neglect. The need to learn to communicate beyond just the four walls of your home, to be able to not only grow to the kind of person you desire but to also learn how to reflect their own feelings and to be able to avoid situations that can harm them when are are not with your children.
These phrases children should learn are easy and can be demonstrated daily. The more the parent emulates this for their child, in their own lives, the easier it would be for the child to add these phrases to their own vocabulary and way of communicating with others.
- I love you. – Most children are quick to say this to people in their own home, but often times neglect to say it to important people in their lives because they don’t hear their own parents saying it outside of their walls. These three little words can make a world of difference when spoke to others outside their close circle of family they live with daily.
- I like that. – By the time children are teens, it is difficult to know what they like. This simple phrase may be something little children say a lot when they are younger but it doesn’t take to long before they stop using it and you lose connection with what really is important to them. As parents, we can demonstrate this daily, not just at gift giving times, by telling people around you when you like something. It can be a gesture, a favorite book, a movie, a place, a food or a memory.
- You make me happy. – Children LOVE to please their parents and that doesn’t change when they get older, but their perspective does. Often times, children think their parents are their enemies and it is just because we lose the communication with them to let them know when we make each other happy. This is simple to do for them and the more you do it, the more they will use this phrase and bless you when you least expect it. Think about things that they struggle with and if they do on their own, be sure to let them know ‘you make me happy’, or when they kiss you in front of friends (this is a big one for boys!).
- Please. – We expect so much from our children, and this proves it as it is one of the first words parents try to teach their children to say and enforce around other people. We can demonstrate it in our own lives by adding it to how we speak to others. Recently, I have notice how little adults use this word. Here are a few examples: “Pass the ketchup”, “Hold the door”, “Get the mail”, “Do the dishes” and “Get the phone”. – these were in my own home and all by adults. Just adding that one word does a lot in how we act toward other people.
- Thank you. – We all say this when it comes to big things, but being thankful comes from the heart of gratitude and this only builds when you can appreciate the small things. Thank you for taking me to school or homeschooling me today, helping me with the dishes, cleaning out the car, adding a special treat to my lunch or taking a walk with me. We miss a lot of opportunity to say thank you for the little things, but it is the little things that children notice, but that will fade away if you don’t keep it alive and then you will have children who are only thankful for the big things in life.
- You’re welcome. – Going back to the whole gratitude of the heart, this phrase is quickly disappearing in our adult conversations with those who are closest in our lives. It is the phrase that allows us to feel good about something we did, although some may think that the ‘thank you’ does that, but for those who have really given to others, they know the joy that comes from saying ‘you’re welcome’. Children should be able to feel that all the time, as well.
- I was wrong. – This is probably one of the most difficult phrases to say in the English language, but it is so important to all relationships on earth. It takes a humble person to use the phrase quickly and to admit their error in front of others. Parents are losing a great deal of teaching power and relationship building if they fail to admit when they are wrong to their children. A parent that uses this phrase willingly and openly with their children will have one of the best relationships with them in their teen years and beyond.
- You are right. – We all like to hear we are right, especially when we ‘know it’, but when someone else says it to you, especially when coupled with the ‘I was wrong’ phrase, it can really make a world of difference in a situation. With children, they need to learn how to say this when they have done something that they know they shouldn’t have done and is being corrected. It is one way to teach them how to deal with conflict and to restore peace in relationships that are important to them. Because let’s face it, we all can’t be right all the time.
- Will you forgive me? – In our home, we have never allowed the phrase “I’m sorry” to be used for an acted that was done on purpose. We allow “I’m sorry” for accidental things like bumping into someone at the store because you didn’t see them, or dropping something. These acts were not intentional, so “I’m sorry” is appropriate for those situations. However, when something is intentional like being mean, lying or disobeying, we always require for the person in the wrong to say, “Will you forgive me?” In our experience, it eliminates the attitude that comes with the required “I’m sorry.” because it is more about asking the person wronged to restore what they damaged.
- You are forgiven. – Forgiveness is something we all seek in our relationships. We don’t want to live with the feeling of disappointing someone that is important to us, so when you are given the apology with a request for forgiveness, which also is an acknowledgement of intentional wrong, not of an accident, it is always easier to forgive them. In our experience, it is also harder not to forgive them, because it quickly softens the hurt.Want help implementing this in your home? Enjoy this free printable: 20 Phrases Printable
- You are hurting my feelings. – Children know how to let others understand that they are hurt by something, but it is normally done physically at a young age. If you don’t teach your child to voice their feelings, this type of physical reaction to being hurt by someone’s action will quickly become habit and then you will have a very angry child that will often times get in trouble because they aren’t able to express their feelings without the physical reaction. They also have the examples of adults who scream or yell with hands flying in all directions when their feelings get hurt by others. If we teach our children to simply say ‘you are hurting my feelings’ when someone has done something that offends them, even by ourselves learning to say them in place of yelling, we can eliminate so much of the teen rage that happens when it is just the lack of communication skills.
- That was kind. – As important as it is to communicate when others have hurt your feelings, it is important to praise people when they have done something nice to you. Children can learn this when a child shares a toy or a snack. Adults can emulate when a friends sends a card or a text that uplifts our spirit. Thank you notes are disappearing in our culture but it has always been a tangible way to show something that you appreciated their gesture of kindness and I would recommend making it part of your child’s training.
- You are beautiful. – Our culture has taken away the self-esteem of many people and it starts with young children. Little girls want to be princesses, but as they grow, they begin to feel clumsy and unattractive because when they look in the mirror they don’t see the princess they have always wanted to be. We praise our children so much in their cute stages and for whatever reason, we stop praising our children’s beauty around the same time that they grow into this stage of low self-esteem. Praising them will give them the ability to praise others and it is really contagious. I get so much joy to hear my young boys tell me how pretty I am when I come out of my room with a new outfit. Their wives will thank me later.
- That looks nice on you. – Encouragement in our society is disappearing, as well. As an adult, I feel awkward when others compliment me because of something that I’m wearing because I’m not sure how I should respond. I normally say, “Thank you” and change the subject, but then a few minutes later, I realize that I should have complimented them back or should I? Finally, I realized that I was going to always let another woman know when she is wearing something that makes her shine and it is a good thing to teach our children. The more they learn to compliment others for the positive things, the more likely the will not be focused on the negative things we all have that quickly leads to bullying or childhood meanness.
- I’m feeling angry. – Every person has to learn how to deal with anger, especially if they haven’t learned how to communicate that someone is hurting their feelings. Stored up anger is dangerous and never leads to a good thing. I have dealt with anger issues a lot in my adult life, and I’m realizing that it comes with not being honest when something is hurting me and holding things in too long. Yelling and throwing my arms in anger won’t solve the situation, but simply acknowledging to the one that is hurting me, “I’m feeling angry” and then removing myself to calm down, so we can talk things through has been a great way for me to deal with them. I have only had one child that demonstrates this type of behavior and I had only wished that I started this sooner. Anger is part of our emotions, but we need to learn how to respond to it without sinning by hurting others. Acknowledging it and having a plan to overcome the anger is important.
- Are you upset? – Recognizing when you may have hurt someones feeling is not as hard as it seems, if you have come to know the person well enough. Spouse know when the other is upset at them, but asking isn’t something that they really want to do, especially if they have issues with anger. Seeing the signs of anger is important for parents, especially if you want to help them learn to admit when they are angry and find a solution to working through it without physically hurting someone. I’m always asking if someone is upset or ‘is something wrong’ because I desire my children to choose a different path and communicate their feelings differently than I have learned to deal with mine. The more you do it, the easier it will be for them to recognize it and work on the feeling themselves.
- I’m tired. – Everyone I know can be emotional when tired, but we don’t always like to admit it. My younger two boys have a way of getting right to the point of tiredness without showing signs of it and then it is like they have hit a wall and all we see is the tiredness. Letting them know, your crying because you are tired has helped them to realize that when they start feeling this way it is because they are tired and they need sleep. Adults don’t always have the ability to demonstrate that when you are tired, you go to sleep, but implementing habits that will help them retire when they feel this is important. Sometimes, it is hard to admit it, especially when there are a lot of activity around you, but that is when we like to use Lavender to aid with the ability to fall asleep.
- Can I help you? – Who doesn’t want children that will offer help without being asked? A family that we knows demonstrates this better than anyone we know. The mother has a servant’s heart and it flows to her children. There is hardly a time we get together that her children do not ask me ‘Is there anything I can do to help you?’ I have yet to have this implemented that well with my own children, but I can say that they have learned how to identify places to serve and be helpful to others. I think it can be demonstrated easier if I offer help to them throughout the day and give them the lesson at home, not just abroad.
- Will you help me? – If a child can see the joys of when help if given to others, they would quickly see that there isn’t anything wrong in receiving help either. Most children are so independent and wanting to do things themselves, but often times, it takes a little help from more experienced people to learn how to do it right. I love when my 5 year old is learning something new and it doesn’t come as easy for him as it does for his older siblings because he is quick to ask, “Will you help me?” There are times that we don’t help him, because it will enable disobedience or laziness but that is only when we know the skill has already been learned and it was required of him to do, but we never let him down in his learning.
- I appreciate you! – Saying thank you is easy to implement, but going a little further to let someone know that ‘I appreciate you’, leaves such a lasting impression on that person that it can literally change a life. Every person in our life should hear these words from us from time to time and why we appreciate them. Why not start with your children and train them in how to let others know how they appreciate them. You may be one of the first to be rewarded with such high esteem.
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