As parents, we are one of the most influential people in our children’s lives. Everything we say and do with them shapes them into the person they are going to be. Therefore, it’s important to say the right things to your child and avoid saying the wrong things. To help nourish your child mentally and emotionally, here are 5 words and phrases parents should repeat to their kids.
I Love You
This one should be obvious, but we sometimes get so caught up in the day to day hustle and bustle of busy lives that we neglect to tell our children that we love them often enough. We show them that we love them by hugging them, tucking them in, providing for them and spending time together but they still need to hear it, too. Children don’t pick up on actions as easily as adults, so they need things spelled out for them. A simple “I love you” before you head off to work can give your child the positive affirmation they need to conquer the day.
I Don’t Know
Children think parents know everything and while we’d like to think that we do, that’s just not the case. There is nothing wrong with telling your child you don’t know when they ask a question. You can even go as far as to helping them find the answer they are looking for, showing them good research habits and sparking their creativity.
Please and Thank You
This is another one that should be obvious, but the reality is parents sometimes just tell their children to do something without saying please and thank you, then expect them to use manners when asking for something or speaking. They deserve the same respect adults get and saying please and thank you tends to get you further when dealing with children. Instead of telling them to go clean their room, consider asking them to clean their room, saying please and thank you as appropriate.
Nobody is a perfect parent and you’re not expected to be either. Acknowledging that we sometimes make decisions that impact our children in a negative way or apologizing after an accident will help your child develop empathy for others. This is also a great way for children to learn when to apologize and how to accept when they are wrong.
It’s Okay to Say No
All too often children are forced to hug relatives they may not want to hug or share toys when they aren’t ready. While it’s important to show affection to family and to learn to share, children shouldn’t be forced to do these things against their will. Tell your child it’s okay to say no if they don’t want to share their ball at the moment or if their least favorite aunt wants a hug when she comes to visit. It’s important to help your child learn when it’s okay to say no. For instance, saying no won’t get them out of cleaning their room but they can say no to hugs from someone they don’t want to hug.
The minds of children are sponges, absorbing the information they hear daily. Since they can’t read actions like adults can, you should always repeat these phrases to your children as needed. Tell them you love them daily, say please and thank you when speaking to them and learn to say you are sorry when you are in the wrong. Last but not least, tell your children it’s okay to say no. Reinforcing your actions with these statements will help your children grow into successful adults.
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