One of the most important things you can do is speak words of life to a child. This is true whether you are a parent, a grandparent, a caregiver, a teacher, a babysitter, a coach, a family friend, a healthcare worker, or a pastor.
Children hear a lot of rubbish, so it’s important that we fill their hearts and minds with good, edifying words. There’s life and death in the tongue.
As a father of four, I want to be intentional about the things I say to my children. I don’t want to be one of those dad’s who is either shooting off his mouth or apologizing for shooting off his mouth.
Trouble is, speaking life doesn’t always come naturally. Not when I’m tired. It’s not that I’m a curmudgeonly old coot. But like many men, I tend to be economical with my words.
And that’s not healthy where kids are concerned.
To help me be a better dad, I have prepared a list of 50 phrases I can say to my kids to establish them in their God-given identity, to buttress their sense of self worth, and so forth. Call it a cheat sheet for parents, if you like.
50 healthy phrases we can say to our kids
To establish their identity
1. I will always love you no matter what
2. I love being your Mom / Dad
3. I’m so happy God gave you to us
4. You are a child of the King
5. God made you beautiful inside and out
6. God has given you precious gifts
7. You make me smile
8. I love it when you…
9. How about a hug!
10. I am here for you
11. This family wouldn’t be complete without you
To establish their self worth
12. You are God’s masterpiece
13. I believe in you
14. Always be yourself, no matter what it takes
15. I trust you
16. You have great ideas
17. I am proud of you
18. This world needs you
19. I thank God for you
20. I love your creativity
21. You are fun!
22. What you did – awesome!
23. It’s okay to be scared
24. Sometimes we’re not okay and that’s okay
25. Look out world – here s/he comes!
To help them find their voice
26. I’m listening
27. What was the best/worst part of your day?
28. I can’t wait to hear all about it
29. Your words matter
30. That’s a good point
31. That’s a great question
32. I love how you said that
33. Good idea – let’s try it your way
34. What do you think?
To help them lean on God
35. God is with you always
36. Relax, God’s got this
37. God is always good to us
38. We can trust our heavenly Father
39. Let’s talk to God about this
40. Let’s ask God for guidance / help
41. Let’s thank God for his provision / protection
42. Let’s find 3 things we are thankful for
43. If it matters to you, it matters to God
To mend a hurt
44. You were right, I was wrong
45. I am sorry, please forgive me
46. Thank you for telling me; that was really brave
47. I forgive you – we all make mistakes
48. It’s okay to cry
49. This too will pass
50. It’s forgiven and forgotten
That’s my list. What did I miss?
PS: International Children’s Day is this week (20 November). To mark the occasion, here’s a printable version of this list you can share (click the image).