3 Things to Say to Kids (for no reason at all)

I don’t think this is shocking news to anyone, but kids learn quickly, really quickly.  They learn new things and incorporate them into their daily routines at lightening speeds.

3 Things to Say to Kids

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This can put parents on high alert.

For example, one perfectly timed “Oh, crap!” and little Johnny is repeating the phrase 77 times a day in front of everyone he meets.

Children learn about the adults in their lives pretty rapidly as well. Even when you think their mind is in a fantasy world, they are paying attention…close attention.

Before long, they know what you are going to say before you even say it. And when those words are something positive, children soon start to perform in order to elicit that response.

“May I have some more milk please, Daddy?”

“Yes, you may. Excellent manners, Colton!”

And when you don’t respond appropriately…

“May I have some more milk please, Daddy?”

“Yes, you may.”

“Daddy, was that good manners!?”

I mean, it didn’t take me long to realize that kids like kudos! They crave validation. But, I don’t want my children to feel they have to “perform” in order for me to say kind things about them or win my approval.

I don’t want them to have to ask to be valued.

I don’t want them to think my love and affection is something they have to earn.

This is a trap people of all ages fall into and it’s unhealthy….because whenever we perform to win the approval of others and don’t get what we’re looking for, it leaves us feeling unwanted and inadequate. It leaves us questioning our self worth.

So with that in mind, there are three things I like to say to my kids out of the blue, for no reason at all…instead of a direct result of a specific action.

1. I like hanging out with you. We always have fun together and I think my smiles and laughs confirm this, but just in case, I want say it. I love spending time with my two knuckleheads. I never want them to doubt that. It sounds simple, but these are things kids wonder about.

2. You are so kind to others. (It can be anything true about your child’s personality.) I got this from my wife. We like to compliment character traits and my daughter has a genuine concern for others. It’s easy (with girls especially) to compliment a child’s physical appearance. You’re so cute. You’re so beautiful. But kids are so much more than that. Also, (way down the road) I want my daughter to seek a husband that appreciates more than her physical beauty.

3. I’m proud to be your dad. This is true all day, everyday…whether my kids are hitting a game-winning shot, starring in their class play, or sitting in timeout. Being their dad is an honor I cherish. I want them to know that, no matter what.

I didn’t put “I love you” on the list because it’s too obvious. Say that often. Scream it from your rooftop! There are too many network movie characters whose dad never said “I love you.” Don’t let your kid be a network movie character.

What would you add to this list? How do you let your kids know they are valued?

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