Over the past few years I’ve learned that Caroline thrives on positive feedback. A few positive words are like putting major money in our relationship bank. Here is what I make a point of saying to her every single day.
1. I love you so much.
Yes, we need to tell our children every day that we love them. And not just a cliche bedtime, “I love you” as we’re kissing them goodnight and walking out of their bedroom with our mind already on to the next thing. But a really heartfelt, “I love you so much” at least once during the day, if not more. Best accompanied with a hug and/or rubbing of the head.
2. You are my special girl.
Caroline hears regularly that she is my special girl. Why? Because she is. She is an answer to prayer. She was sent to me by God. I told her the other day that she is the only person in the entire world and history of man who gets to call me Momma. She is my special girl.
3. Good job!
I think some parents are so afraid of overdoing it with the praise, that they sometimes withhold even the most basic encouragement. When Caroline does a good job of cleaning up, I tell her so! When she does a good job on her schoolwork, I tell her so!
4. I’m so proud of you!
It’s easy for adults to forget that being a child is tough. There is so much to learn, so much to remember, and so much new stuff constantly coming at them. When Caroline tries something new and takes a risk, I tell her how proud I am of her. It might not seem like a big deal to an adult, but it is to her!
5. How did you do that?
Our children often come to us during the day with their child-sized accomplishments. It might be Legos, a drawing, or a crafty creation. Rather than just glancing at it and saying, “That’s nice,” I try to take the time to ask her how she did it. I strive to show her that I value what she did by asking for more information about the process, the idea or the function.
6. What a great idea!
Children need to know they are capable of contributing to the household. They need to know that their ideas matter. They need to see their ideas implemented in the home. I want to encourage Caroline to think problem solving in creative ways is just as natural as breathing. And if the idea doesn’t start out great, I direct her to adapt it by asking leading questions. Then tell her, “What a great idea!”
7. Jesus loves you!
I want Caroline to know every day that Jesus loves her. I want her to hear every day that He cares about her, she can always talk to Him, and that He cares about everything in her life. I want her to know that He died for her sins and that He is in heaven. Jesus loves her, that she knows!