1 – I Love You
This is one of the MOST IMPORTANT THINGS you can ever say to a child, and the thing is – you cannot say it too much. It’s just not possible. We say ‘I love you’ so often, but when was the last time you stopped, looked at a child in the eyes and said it to them with full conviction? They have to truly believe it and that they are truly important to them.
2 – What Was Your Favorite Thing From Today?
This is one favorite conversation starters. It helps focus on a positive start from the day and teaches children how to reflect on it.
3 – It’s Amazing When You Do…
Children love specifics and don’t respond as well to vague comments. Saying ‘it’s amazing when you tidy up or pick up toys without asking not only shows your appreciation but it also encourages them to do it again with positive reinforcement. Not all children respond the same, but children respond like positive reinforcement.
4 – I Love That You’ve Learned How To….
Children are learning so many things every single day. It’s incredible really. They are little sponges and should be proud of their achievements. They are far more persistent than adults. Focusing on a particular thing they have learned gives you a positive conversation to have. Even if it’s as simple as ‘I love that you’ve learned how to run super fast!’
5 – You Make Me Smile
Some children can make you smile when they say ‘I love you’ or use a sweet word that they have never used before.
As teachers or parents, it is hard to tell children what they cannot do! You can’t climb on that, you can’t eat your banana while on the toilet, you can’t wash your toys in the sink, you can’t jump off the slide… kids are creative and they have a different level of fear. Be careful not to say ‘you can’t’ a lot. Balance it out with ‘you can do it’. Children get frustrated like us! This particular child would often get stuck under his chair and so the teacher would tell him ‘you can do it, you can get out of there’ and encourage him to do it. Telling children they can do something helps build their self-confidence. Imagine if we had our own little cheer squad telling us we could do all the things we set our mind to…
6 – You Can Do It
7 – Thank You So Much For Doing…
Appreciation and gratitude go a long way for children and they are such important life lessons that start when we show them our appreciation and thanks. They mimic what we do and their words are a reflection on ours. When we always say ‘thank you so much,’ the children realize how much it is noticed.
8 – Tell Me More…
Encourage conversation! Attention is one of the most important things you can give children! Do not tune out what the child is trying to say. Some are non-stop talkers! Try to make sure you engage in full conversations with the child. Encourage them to tell you the complete story and be sure to listen. They will get excited.
9 – I Like Having You Around Me
Like a lot of children, their innate desire is not to just be near you, but literally to be on top of you for the larger part of the day. So, you have a pretty much of a human hanging off you for most hours. Where’s my space? Which is why it’s so important to remind you that you don’t mind! It can be as simple as saying you liked spending the day with them or liked doing an activity with them. It is so positive and so uplifting.
Children have opinions and lots of them! But asking them directly for their opinion on something gives them a chance to actually think about what’s happening, explain their thoughts and feel valued. Again, it doesn’t have to be complicated, just ask their opinion. And it’s always such a cute response.
All of these thoughts are based on conversation and the need to feel valued and making them feel valued is the most positive thing we can do. Sure, it’s hard some days but by adding even one the points each day will make you feel that you are doing okay as a teacher or parent!