Here are 25 compliments for kids that truly bring out the best in them and send the message that we care more about them than the success and results they can accomplish!
Compliments for Kids that Encourage the Process and Not Just the End Result
It is easy to praise kids when they get the results we want them to get, but they also need encouragement when they are just being themselves. In order to build character and self esteem, it helps to also notice and praise their effort, intention, and their process along the way.
Montessori Taught Me How to Compliment Kids
When my oldest son was about two years old, I started to become really interested in how I could educate him. I came across several Montessori blogs, and dove head first into learning all about this old, yet still refreshing way to not only teach children but to raise them in the home.
I started to implement Montessori ways in our house. For instance, I put all of the kids dishes in a bottom cabinet where they could reach them to get their own snacks. I tried to keep toys to a minimum so our playroom was more simple and not overwhelming.
Montessori Method of Praise
Another thing I learned was the Montessori method of praise – how to compliment my children in an empowering way. And I also learned that kids have an intrinsic motivation to do well, to learn, to grow, to be curious. It isn't something that needs to be taught, but rather a basic human desire that only needs to be encouraged and given the space to thrive.
Praise Process Over Results
In the Montessori method, they teach adults to give encouragement instead of praise, to give descriptive compliments rather than evaluative praise.
Instead of saying, “you're such a good girl!” or “great job!” when a girl puts away her toys, say “It's really helpful when you put away your toys. Thank you!”
So praising the effort, the intention, or the spirit behind what they're doing rather than putting emphasis on the accomplishment or the action. If most of our praise is on outward appearance and accomplishment, think about what message that implants in a child's subconscious mind. They begin to believe they are only worthy of love and attention when they are accomplishing things, or looking good.
How Does this Empower Children?
When we say compliments for kids like – “That was amazing! Great job! I'm so proud of you!” the child may not learn what parts of the process helped them to succeed so they could repeat it with something else. So when we get specific, by saying things like, “I really like how you scrubbed the area around the toilet. I saw you were doing your best!” they can learn that specific action was what you wanted and can then repeat it.
So praising children along the way, whether they accomplish something great or not, helps them to love and enjoy the process, and the journey of learning, also! It teaches them that I don't have to accomplish something in order to be loved, or to be special. I'm loved and special no matter what I do!
The More We Compliment Kids, the More We Notice their Good Behavior
Complimenting our children on things other than appearance and accomplishments HELPS US to notice all of the many times they are doing helpful and kind things around the house. If were are mostly or only talking about the things that they do wrong, we will begin to see more and more of what they do wrong and miss the things they are doing well.
Your Needs as a Parent are #1
I find myself falling into this trap (of only noticing what my kids do wrong) really quickly when I'm tried, or feel emotionally drained myself. This is why self care is crucial for parents! We cannot pour from empty cups. I have to be very intentional to get enough sleep, to process my emotions and not shove them down, and to be speaking kindly to myself as well.
Here are my top 25 compliments that encourage good character and praise the effort, heart and intention behind their actions!
25 Compliments for Kids that Build Character
- I'm so proud of the way that you helped your sister tie her shoes.
- It was so kind of you to share your sandwich with your brother.
- I noticed how you were taking your time on your handwriting while you did your homework.
- You did it yourself!
- I love the way you played baseball today, giving it your best and having a good time!
- Thank you for doing your very best to clean your room today.
- I appreciate how you help me set the table.
- I know that test today wasn't easy – I'm proud of you that you persevered and did your best. (Even if they didn't make a good grade.)
- You are so kind and caring with your friends.
- Your teacher told me how you helped that boy in your class.
- You put your best effort into doing that science project – I am so proud of you! (No matter what the grade or result is on the project.)
- You bring me so much joy, I love being around you!
- I love how you used your imagination to write this story. You're so creative!
- (On Artwork) Look how you used your imagination to make this come to life!
- Your practicing has paid off and now you get to celebrate your accomplishments!
- You worked so carefully on building that lego set. It was fun to watch you create!
- I noticed you kept working carefully on your picture until you got it just how you want it.
- I saw you having fun in dance class and it made me smile!
- It was so helpful of you to take your dishes to the sink. Thank you!
- I like how diligently you did your math homework.
- I noticed how you waited so patiently for your turn.
- It feels good to be able to do that on your own, doesn't it?
- I noticed how you calmed yourself down after being upset – you are really maturing.
- I love your enthusiasm for soccer! Isn't it fun to love what we are doing?
- You really took your time to read that book well.