7 Ways to Encourage Your Children

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A young boy sitting at a table in front of a window with his homework.
From Life as Mom

It would seem that by the time a child reaches about the age of four, he starts to become aware of his mistakes and weaknesses. To be honest, I don’t remember enough from my child development classes in grad school to be able to site the study or the researcher – though I’m sure that if my mom knew how to leave a comment, she could tell us that it was Erik Erikkson or Piaget or somebody.

Anyway, it’s something that I’ve simply observed with my four boys so far. There comes a time when they are no longer blissfully unaware of their shortcomings.

This can be hard for Mom, for a number of reasons. Unfortunately, I’m guilty of overreacting and have often given them that newfound awareness of their foibles. It’s not that I want my kids to think that they’re perfect. They aren’t, and I don’t. But, I do want them to feel secure in our love for them and to be hopeful that they will grow and change. A healthy sense of strength and weaknesses is what I desire for me and for them. I never want them to feel like “failures” or unsatisfied with who God has crafted them to be.

Recently, several of them traipsed in from playing with the neighbor kids and questioned me as to whether or not they were short for their age. Since the neighbor kids are giants and we Fishers are average, they were worried that they were “short.” Thankfully, I was able to point to their 6 foot uncle and tell them not to worry about it!

But, encouragement doesn’t always come so easily. Some things work better with different children. Some things work better in one season and then don’t make even a dent in their Eeyore disposition the next season. So, this list is not exhaustive. Instead, I hope it will serve as inspiration to you in thinking of ways to encourage your own kids.

1. Smile often. Try to be a joyful mom.
2. Hug and kiss them often. This is particularly good for the physically affectionate child.
3. Have a pow-wow or a regular time for conversation and sharing what’s going on in each other’s lives.
4. Take 1/2 a day (or more) off from correcting every little thing your child may or may not be doing “properly.” Instead, look for things to praise or thank him for doing. Look for the good and acknowledge it.
5. Make his favorite meal — just because.
6. Take the day off school and go on an adventure.
7. Make a list of all the things that you love about your child. Write it down in a fun, decorative way and share the list with him. If he’s a verbal/audio kid, tell it to him.

These are just a few ways to let your kids know how much you value them. But, there is no end to encouragement.

How have you been successful in encouraging your children? What things have you done to make them feel loved and appreciated and important.

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  1. Thanks for these! I can always use a reminder to add in some more positive feedback for my kids-they eat it up!

  2. My daughter and her friend (10 years old) carved the pumpkin all by themselves while i lay on the couch with the bf. they were weilding sharp knives. most moms would supervise. i thought of the children in the amazon who can shoot poison bows and arrows at frogs at two years old. i raised them to be tough and learn by trial and error. they didn't cut themselves. the pumpkin turned out great. they were so proud. and they cleaned up! leaving some bits of pumkin gunk on the table and some seeds on the floor and some dishes in the sink. i thanked them so much for cleaning up and doing such a great job.

    and back to snogging on the couch, naughty mommy.

    cheers! Val

  3. Oooh. Good stuff. I need to try some of these ideas. (particularly the 1/2 day focused on praise rather than pecking at every little thing!)

  4. Another encouragement for children is a little treat…I bought 5 of the Wendy's Trick or Treat coupon booklets for $5. That is alot of treats for my kiddies. its not just little kids that like treats, my youngest are 13, 15 and 16 and they like treats too.

  5. Great post! I needed this today. One way I try to encourage is to put a little love note… funny, sweet, encouraging, silly into my 1st grader's lunchbox every day. And I plan a few "mental health" days each school year where we sleep in and then go on an adventure.


  6. Oh, and it's okay to be a grumpy bear sometimes! I was a grumpy child. Grumpy Bear (the care bear) was my favorite – and still is! Oscar the Grouch was my brother's.

  7. These are great ways to encourage our children!!! Thank you for listing them…it is true that they begin to notice and we need to be their encouragers.