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Six Positive Phrases For Toddlers

Positive communication is the cornerstone of a healthy parent-child relationship. Even if toddlers can't articulate all that they feel, they excel are recognizing positive words from the negative ones. The way we phrase our words also has an impact on their behaviour in subtle ways.

Toddlers rarely comply with something when they feel that they are being 'made' to do it. What works better are 'requests' and 'suggestions'. I feel that phrasing what you say to them positively helps keep them in a better and more cooperative frame of mind.

Six phrases that create a positive state of mind in your toddler.


Here are six positive phrases you can use with toddlers:


You did that by yourself!


Toddlers love being recognized for their individual efforts, no matter how small. By saying this phrase, you acknowledge their effort without over-praising. I personally don't set a limit on how much I praise my child, but I know there are parents who prefer being selective about what actions they praise. Either way, a toddler will love and feel good about a positive response for whatever steps they take towards independence.

Tell me about it...


Encouraging toddlers to speak about their experiences, emotions, and thoughts is a good way to focus on the positive aspects. Talking is a great way to connect with your toddler, and making encouraging comments helps them open up and learn to think positively as well.

Wasn't that fun?


It's not uncommon for every outing with a toddler to involve at least one episode of a meltdown. Even then, it is important to reinforce the good time they had, so they learn to put any upsetting thoughts behind them. This phrase reminds them of the good time they had, and how, as a parent, you are choosing to focus on that.

We'll fix this/figure it out..


For toddlers, even little problems can seem insurmountable. Whether it's a favourite toy that's lost or the rain that's dampened their play, toddlers can get grumpy over anything! Saying something like this can show them that things can be fixed, or alternatives can be found. Parents can take the lead in demonstrating how problems can be solved with positive thoughts.


That was nice of you!


This is a phrase I use often with my toddler, and I can see how much of a positive impact it has. When you recognize a kind act or helpful hand, it tells toddlers that being 'nice' is a good thing. Toddlers thrive on positive phrases like these. Just remember to avoid doing the opposite, and reprimand actions that are 'bad'. Instead, it is better to point out what they could have done instead, and how that would have been a better thing to do. See my post on Four Words To Use Wisely Around Children.

Can I help you?


I love saying this phrase because it lets your child know that you are there for them, should they need your help. It's also a more positive way of getting a task done without telling them outright that they can't do it themselves. No matter how independent they seem, toddlers actually like it when a parent collaborates on a project or task with them,

Above all, don't forget to say I love you!  to your toddler as often as you can, supported by physical touches that reassure them. I mentioned the importance of a comforting touch in my post, Seven Tips For A Calmer Toddler.

Also check out my post on Six Reassuring Phrases For Toddlers, in which I wrote about how you can help your toddler deal with situations that are mentally or emotionally challenging to them.

You can also read my post on Six Kindness Acts for Toddlers, on making them compassionate human beings.


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27 comments

[email protected] said...

Simple things that are easily overlooked in the stresses of being a parent. But so important. #pocolo

Merlinda Little said...

There is this series from Amazon that my son loves. Tumble Leaf its called. The characters there are always trying new things and when they solved a problem they would say 'I figured it out' My son starts using that word and I love it. The inquisitiveness that those word represent is just amazing. #pocolo

Faiza N said...

It is true. Positive reinforcement always works with my son.

Tarana said...

That's true, which is why we need a reminder sometimes.

Tarana said...

I must check out that series, thanks!

Tarana said...

For us too!

Kristi - Finding Ninee said...

Praising our kids for good behavior is so so much more effective than only scolding them when it's undesired behavior! Great phrases, Tarana.

Tarana said...

Thanks Kristi!

Seychellesmama said...

Great post Tarana!! I find I have used some of these instinctively but there's a couple I'd like to focus on using more!! Off to check out the other posts now :) x

Jenny Ripatti-Taylor said...

As always Tarana you give great advice and tips. I love this. Especially since I am dealing with two toddlers now. lol I will take all the advice I can. Thank you so much for linking up to Share With Me #sharewithme

Tarana said...

Thanks, Chantelle! We do use these phrases naturally, but sometimes it's good to have a reminder.

Tarana said...

Hats off to you, Jenny, because you have two adorable and happy toddlers!

Becky | Spirited Puddle Jumper said...

Love this Tarana! I especially like the 'Can I help you?' idea. S in particular is very independent, and this might just help take the edge off a potential meltdown if I need something done quickly but she wants to do it by herself! #sharewithme

Brandyn Blaze said...

Wonderful post! While I do use variations of these phrases daily, I really could stand to use them more. It's so easy to become overwhelmed and frustrated and let some negativity filter in! Thank you for sharing!


Stopping by from the Share WIth Me link up

Becky said...

Great post, I am definitely going to use some of these with my toddler especially "that was nice of you" he loves getting compliments and I think I need to reinforce that he is doing well! Becky xx #sharewithme

Steph @MisplacedBrit said...

Great sum up. It's funny when you notice that even though ideas aren't 'new' you can still miss doing them! Great reminder :-)

Mike said...

I really liked this at the beginning, "What works better are 'requests' and 'suggestions' ". Wow, voice inflection can make or break it sometimes with either teaching kids or how they perceive words and language in general, can't it Tarana? This was a terrific post! I'm sending this to several of my friends to read :)

Tarana said...

Yes, it does work well!

Tarana said...

Not letting negativity get in the way is really the point. Thanks!

Tarana said...

I'm sure it will go down well with him then!

Tarana said...

We do need a reminder sometimes!

Tarana said...

Thank you! Yes, the tone of speaking can have a big impact on their behaviour.

Susanne Remic said...

I love this. And I am so happy to realise that I use all of the phrases with my toddler- admittedly not all the time (I'll work on that!). My toddler often says 'I did it all by myself!' and actually it could be her that prompted that phrase for me :) x x x

Suzanne Whitton said...

Do you know what? I don't think these phrases ever become redundant - they're great for teen and tweens too! Thanks for the reminder :)

Tarana said...

How sweet! They really do love being praised for putting in effort.

JAIVIANSMOMMY said...

I agree :) It is definitely important to create a positive, affirming vocab with our children :)

Maggie said...

Lovely ideas to incorporate with my says of teaching &reassuring my 3 year old. Thanks.

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