Brainy Parenting

Inside: Get a free printable list of the most powerful positive words for kids, plus the pitfalls to avoid when it comes to positive things to say to your child.

After I tuck my kids into bed every night, I collapse on the couch, close my eyes, and sigh.

Unfortunately, with four kids, I get about 2.7 seconds of peace before one of them asks for another drink of water, needs an extra hug, or remembers a month-long school project that’s due tomorrow.

But after a few turns on the bedtime merry-go-round, I can finally sink back into the couch.

That’s when the replay of our day starts in my head. It’s like a 10x sped-up video, but every time my mouth opens to say something to my kids, the video slows down so I can hear myself.

“Put your shoes away.” “Your room is a mess!” “Stop bugging your sister.” “You haven’t brushed your teeth yet?”

My own personal highlight reel of nagging and negativity, directed at the people I love most in the world.

The weight of my words crushes my chest, and my mind scrambles to remember: when did I say something loving, something sweet, anything positive?

Was I so focused on treading water in a neverending sea of parental to-dos – getting snacks, folding laundry, mediating sibling squabbles – that I forgot to tell my children how much I love them?

My kids deserve better. They deserve to hear every single day that no matter what road bumps we hit, I feel lucky to be on this lifelong road trip with them.

Bonus: As a bonus for joining my weekly newsletter, get a free cheat sheet of the 75 most powerful positive words for kids, plus three important pitfalls to avoid when it comes to positive things to say to your child.

But Here’s the Problem

It’s heartbreaking to think that your child’s last thought after you tuck them in at night and before they fall asleep may be: Is Mommy mad at me? Did I do something wrong? Does Daddy still love me?

What’s more, lack of connection with your child also leads to more unnecessary power struggles and less cooperation from your child when you ask them to clean their toys up, to help empty the dishwasher, or to stop chewing their food like a cow with a megaphone.

But as parents in today’s world, we have a lot on our plates. Because of that, it’s easy to get so wrapped up in the daily struggles of parenting that you forget to stop and tell your child how much you love them.

When you have too much to do and too little time to do it, you’re in survival mode not nurturing mode. And those positive sayings for kids like “You’re important to me” and “I love you to the moon and back” that our children crave from us? They go unsaid.

What happens when positive words for kids go unsaid

Recently, I came across this quote from a doctor and author who specializes in childhood development and trauma:

“Love felt by the parent does not automatically translate into love experienced by the child.”Dr. Gabor Maté

In other words, those positive messages for kids don’t work when you just think them to yourself after your kids are tucked into bed. You need to actually say them out loud.

I realized it was time for a change.

Because the research is crystal clear that when kids feel warmth and affection from their parents, that has a life-long positive impact on the child.

Not only do kids with affectionate parents do better in school and develop a healthy self-esteem, they also end up emotionally happier and less anxious as adults. Parental warmth even has an impact on your child’s physical health.

And so the important question is: When you’re busy and overwhelmed and just impaled your left foot on a stray LEGO, how can you remember to say out loud all the positive things you should say to your child to remind them of your unconditional love?

Related: How to Connect With Your Child: The Magic of the 5:1 Ratio {Printable}

Here’s a Quick Fix for Every Busy Parent

This is easy to forget in the hustle and bustle of parenting life, so I decided to set up a visual cue. Something to serve as a gentle reminder for me to switch out of survival mode a few times a day and fill my children’s tank with unconditional love.

Because when you’re trying to stick to a habit, research shows that a visual cue can remind you of your intention when you’re most likely to forget it.

For example:

  • If you set a goal to eat healthier, you could leave a neon bright Post-It Note on your fridge to remind yourself that “Snack = veggies only.”
  • Or if you wanted to stick to an exercise routine every morning, you could set your workout clothes on your nightstand the night before.

For my visual cue, I made a nice printable list of all the positive things to say to your child to show them you love them. I can stick this list of positive words for kids on my fridge, tape it to my bathroom mirror, or leave it on the driver’s seat of my car as a reminder every time we get in the car to go somewhere.

Below, you can get this free printable list of positive messages for kids as a visual cue for yourself.

Related: 7 Best Family Bonding Games That Will Help You Reconnect Quickly

When you remember these positive things to say to your child, you'll make your relationship stronger than ever

75 Most Powerful Positive Sayings for Kids

Get your free printable list of the most powerful positive words for kids here right now. Then every time you see your printable list, say one of these positive messages for kids to make your child feel absolutely loved.

Don’t forget to grab the printable so you also get the list of three important pitfalls to avoid when it comes to delivering these positive sayings for kids!

A quick caveat: You won’t find phrases like “You’re so smart” to praise your child’s abilities on this list because that kind of praise can undermine your child’s motivation and even foster narcissism in your child. To learn more, check out Here’s the Secret Phrase to Turn Your Kid Into an Amazing Student. (Hint: It’s not “You’re so smart.”)

  1. You are important to me.
  2. I love spending time with you.
  3. You make me smile.
  4. I love you no matter what. (This one is made even more special if you first read the beautiful children’s book No Matter What† together!)

† This site is reader-supported. When you buy through our links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

  1. I feel so lucky to be your mom/dad.
  2. I’m proud of the person you are.
  3. I love you from your toes to your nose to where your hair grows! (For extra giggles, touch your child’s toes when you say “toes,” their nose when you say “nose,” and the top of their head when you say the last line!)
  4. You are beautiful to me, inside and out.
  5. I thought of you today when… (Finish with a specific time during the day that you thought of your child.)
  6. I like you. (Even if you say “I love you” regularly, does your child know you like them too?)
  7. Sometimes if I’m feeling sad, just thinking of you makes me feel better.
  8. You can always talk to me, even if it’s about something that makes you nervous or scared or sad.
  9. I love to watch you… (Then give an activity your child enjoys, like play soccer, get wrapped up in reading a book, make art, play your clarinet, and so on.)

  10. You make my heart feel full.
  11. I appreciate when you… (Finish with a specific example of something your child does that’s helpful or kind.)
  12. You’re one of a kind.
  13. I care about you more than you can imagine.
  14. I’m grateful that you’re in my life.
  15. I love your insides and your outsides!
  16. I’m here for you, no matter what happens.
  17. I’d love to hear what you think about… (Then ask your child’s opinion on something that matters, like what to have for dinner, what to do on the weekend, where to go on your next family vacation, and so on.)
  18. My world is better with you in it.
  19. I noticed you working hard on… (Finish with a specific example when you noticed your child pushing themselves to learn or grow or finish something.)
  20. I believe in you.
  21. I saw when you… (Then give a specific example of your child doing something helpful or kind.)
  1. I love hearing your ideas.
  2. You make a difference in my life.
  3. I love seeing the world through your eyes.
  4. Seeing you happy makes me happy.
  5. You matter to me.
  6. I hope you have an awesome day today.
  7. Anytime you need help, I’m here for you.
  8. I love you just the way you are.
  9. You are a precious treasure to me.
  10. I respect you and your opinions.
  11. We’re a team, you and me.
  12. I love being your mom/dad.
  13. Sometimes I look at you and think back to when you were younger, and… (Finish with a specific memory of when your child was younger.)
  14. There’s only one you in the world.
  15. I love your laugh/smile.
  16. Nothing would ever make me stop loving you.
  17. It’s you I like. Every part of you. (Perfect for fans of Mister Rogers!)
  18. You’re an important part of this family.
  19. It’s exciting to watch you grow up.
  20. I’m so grateful you’re my daughter/son.
  21. You can always come to me, no matter what.
  22. I love you more than… (Then give a specific example like more than all the stars in the sky, more than all the fish in the sea, more than cupcakes love sprinkles, and so on – feel free to come up with silly examples too!)
  23. I will always be there for you.
  24. Being your parent is my favorite part of life.
  25. You are special to me.
  26. Thank you so much for doing… (Finish with a specific example of an action your child took.)
  27. You make life fun.
  28. I love being around you, no matter what we’re doing.
  29. You are my favorite 5-year-old.
  30. I love you to the moon and back. (Or you can take this one step further by adding on, like “I love you to the moon, past the end of our solar system, to the next galaxy over and to every other galaxy in the universe, to the alien planet no one knows about yet, and all the way back home.”)
  31. I’m a fan of you. (This one is inspired by our favorite pick for family movie night, We Bought a Zoo.)
  32. I love when we learn something new together.
  33. I’m never too busy for you.
  34. You light up my day.
  35. That was a kind decision when you… (Then give a specific example of something your child did that was kind.)
  36. I have fun when I’m with you.
  37. I love you more than French fries. (Or insert your favorite food like pizza or cupcakes.)
  38. Seeing you smile makes me smile.
  39. You’ll never get in trouble for talking to me about something that’s bothering you.
  40. I feel blessed to have you in my life.
  41. You inspire me to be a better person.
  42. Even if I’m feeling frustrated about something, I still love you.
  43. I love the way your mind works.
  44. You make me happy, just by being you.
  45. I wouldn’t trade you for a million gabazillion dollars.
  46. I love you when… or… (Finish with two very different examples, like “I love you when you feel brave or scared” or “I love you when you’re serious or silly.” The inspiration for this one came from the sweet children’s book called The I Love You Book.)
  47. I miss you when we’re apart. (Or you can go for the over-the-top version, “I miss you when I blink,” which is also the name of a funny memoir from a mom about trying to do it all).
  48. You can always tell me the truth, even if you’re scared to, and I will still love you.
  49. I wish I didn’t have to go to work so we could stay home together and play all day!
  50. I will love you always and forever.

Related: 150 Conversation Starters for Kids That Will Make You Closer Than Ever {Printable}

But First, Beware of This Gotcha

Visual cues have one weakness. After a while, they become wallpaper.

In other words, after you get used to seeing the cue in your environment, the cue stops reminding you. And this list of positive words for kids is not immune to this phenomenon.

But there’s a simple fix: When the cue stops catching your eye, just move it to a different spot.

Here are a few different places you can put this free printable list of positive sayings for kids. When the list starts blending into the background, move it to a new place from this list.

  • The fridge
  • A door
  • The bathroom mirror
  • The dinner table
  • The driver’s seat of your vehicle
  • As a bookmark for whatever book you’re currently reading – your own personal reading material or a read-aloud chapter book you’re using at bedtime with your child
  • On your nightstand
  • Inside your kitchen pantry
  • Laid inside a drawer you open frequently, like in your dresser or bathroom vanity
  • On the kitchen counter – for example, next to your coffee maker

Plus, here’s a bonus idea I love for an extra reminder: Change your password to one of these positive sayings for kids every few days. Then whenever you enter your password, it will be a reminder to say those positive words out loud to your child.

For example, you could change your password to URImportant2Me! to represent the phrase you are important to me.

When you use these positive messages for kids, your child will feel absolutely loved

The Best Times to Use These Positive Words for Kids

Let’s say you’ve received your free printable list of positive words for kids, and you hung it in a prominent spot in your home as a visual cue. Awesome!

But…now what? These are all beautifully positive things to say to your child, but when do you say them?

Here are a few ideas for how to work these positive messages for kids into your days:

  • Surprise your child by saying their name out of the blue, then saying a phrase – bonus points if you bend down and get on their eye level first
  • Pick a different phrase to say at bedtime every night while tucking your child in – say it with a smile or whisper it while you give a big bear hug
  • If you’ve had a moment of disconnection like a disagreement or power struggle, deliver one of these phrases with a hug, back rub, or pat on the shoulder
  • Write a phrase down and leave it for your child to find – a slip of paper in your child’s school lunchbox, a Post-It note on the bathroom mirror, a notecard on their pillow, and so on
  • When you notice your child seems sad or upset, say one of these phrases
  • If you notice your child struggling with something like homework or learning something new, encourage them with one of these positive sayings for kids

Related: 10 Children’s Books That Will Make Your Kids Feel Absolutely Loved

Get Your Free Cheat Sheet: 75 Positive Words for Kids

Use this cheat sheet of positive things to say to your child to help you remember to show your unconditional love for your child – even when life is busy.

  1. Get the free cheat sheet. Join my weekly-ish newsletter and as a bonus, you’ll get the printable! Just click here to get it and subscribe.
  2. Print. Any paper will do the trick, but card stock would be ideal.
  3. Hang your cheat sheet somewhere handy like the fridge. See the But First, Beware of This Gotcha section earlier in this post for ideas on how to keep the reminder fresh and effective.
  4. Say a phrase to your child. A couple ideas for how to use the cheat sheet: You could set yourself a personal goal of a certain number of positive things to say to your child every day, or you could mark off each phrase as you use it and try to get through the whole list within a certain period of time.

Here’s a sneak peek of your printable cheat sheet:

Preview of printable: 75 positive words for kids

Your Turn

What are your favorite positive words for kids? Share in a comment below!

Kelly Holmes, author and Certified Parent Educator

I'm a mom of four, a Certified Parent Educator, and the author of Happy You, Happy Family. I believe if you want a loving parent-child relationship that will last into the teenage years and beyond, the time for nurturing that kind of relationship is now. The good news? All you need is 10 minutes a day. Start here »

This post originally appeared on Happy You, Happy Family