I love my kids so, so much. They are such a blessing in my life, and I thank God for them every day.
I have to be honest, though, my kids are children just like yours are–and if I’m not careful I can let the daily demands and routine, and the necessary training and discipline (over and over and over) drown out any hint of gratefulness my kids may hear from me…..
I know I’m going to be the voice in my child’s head for years to come. I don’t want to needlessly build my child’s esteem in himself when I should be teaching my kids to depend instead on Christ. But I do want to intentionally build up, edify, and encourage my child. My kids are my neighbors, and it’s important that I love them in a number of encouraging ways daily. I shared how important it is that we encourage our children–let’s take a look at how we can encourage our kids.
100 Ways to Encourage Your Child
In listing 100 ways to encourage your child, I’ll need to move right along. Each of these truly can encourage your kids. For more ideas, think of the things your spouse or friend does for you that you find encouraging. If I missed something, let me know in the comments.
I freely admit to pulling five of these six categories from The 5 Love Languages of Children: The Secret to Loving Children Effectively by Gary D. Chapman and Ross Campbell. (Though the suggestions are mine.) It’s been years since I read the book, but it really helped me think through how my children hear me when I tell them I love them.
1) Encourage Your Child Spiritually
1. Read Scripture to and with your child.
2. Encourage your child to read Scripture daily on his own.
3. Ask about your child’s Scripture reading.
4. Pray with your child.
5. Pray for your child privately–and let her know how you’re praying when appropriate.
6. Ask the Lord to save your child by grace through faith. Pray this often with your unregenerate child.
7. In prayer with your child, thank the Lord for the spiritual growth you’re seeing in your child.
8. In prayer with your child, ask God to reveal and develop the spiritual gifts He’s given your (saved) child for the glory of God alone.
9. Pray that the Lord will keep your child from temptation–in front of your child.
10. Pray with your child that he will flee temptation–while praying with your child.
11. Thank God for the gift of your child. Praise Him for his blessing in your life–in front of your son or daughter.
12. Teach your child biblical truth.
13. Help your child learn to apply a biblical worldview to her daily surroundings. Cheer her insights as they occur.
14. Teach your child hymns and songs of praise.
15. Affirm your child’s wise actions and choices with a Bible verse that commends that action or character trait.
16. Affirm your child’s identity in Christ with Bible verses.
17. Help your child learn Bible verses that remind him that his hope and identity are in Christ alone.
18. Take your child to church with you.
2) Encourage Your Child Physically
19. Hug your child.
20. Cuddle on the couch during a movie or a read-aloud.
21. Pat your child on the shoulder.
22. Wrestle (carefully) with your child.
23. Carry your child or give your child a piggy-back ride.
24. Get on your knees or bend at the waist to look your child in the eyes.
25. Put down what you’re doing and look you child in the eyes when she speaks to you.
26. Give your child a quick shoulder rub.
27. Do your child’s hair for her.
28. Paint her nails.
29. High five him.
30. Fist bump your teen.
31. Allow your child to lean against you while sitting together–even in the teen years.
32. Let your child sit on your lap. Invite lap sitting.
33. Allow your child to join you on your bed when appropriate. Join your child on his bed at night for prayers, reading, and conversation. (Some of your most important teen talks may take place here, so make it a safe place to discuss the day.)
34. Dance with your child. Regularly. Nothing weird–just fun.
3) Encourage Your Child with Gifts and Surprises
35. Look for small gifts in nature for your child–a flower, an agate, a seashell, or a snakeskin.
36. Let your child choose a special food from the grocery store.
37. Share your spare change with your child.
38. Surprise your child with her favorite meal.
39. Purchase a piece of clothing or toy on sale and save it for a random moment.
40. Give your child something that belonged to you as a child. (Don’t expect this item to survive unscathed.)
41. Give your teen a piece of your jewelry.
42. Give your teen an award or medal that means something to you. (My father has a number of war medals and one of them sits in my jewelry box–I can’t tell you how much that meant to me as a teen.)
43. Choose a special piece of jewelry for your teen and present it as a coming-of-age gift.
44. Pay attention to your child’s interests and look for a gift to encourage that talent or ability.
45. Help your child decorate his room with special yard sale finds.
46. Pick up a book for your child while you’re out with friends.
47. Add a coloring book or set of colored pens to your basket the next time you’re on Amazon.
48. Make your child a card.
49. Paint your child a picture.
50. Create a set of coupons for your child.
4) Encourage Your Child with Quality Time
51. Take a day trip with your child.
52. Play a board game with your child.
53. Play hide-and-seek with your child.
54. Read a book aloud to your child.
55. Teach your child to cook something new.
56. Take your child on a trip to the store–just him and you.
57. Do your child’s chores with her.
58. Invite yourself into your teen’s room for an uplifting visit.
59. Go for a walk with your child.
60. Take a bike ride together.
61. Go to the park.
62. Build a time for relaxing together into your daily schedule. This is a time when you will do something together and chat.
63. Learn a new skill together.
64. Watch a movie. Take the time to discuss it afterward.
65. Plant a garden and tend it together.
66. Spend time together caring for someone outside your family.
67. Develop a project with your child and work on it together.
5) Encourage Your Child with Words of Encouragement
68. Catch your child doing something good and commend him.
69. Tell your child something you like about her.
70. Compliment your child on the job he did.
71. Tell your child she’s pretty or strong or brave or smart.
72. Talk to your child about what you’d like to see him do next time.
73. Remind your child of the behavior you’re expecting before entering a situation. Tell her you know she’s capable of honorable behavior.
74. Tell your child you love him. Over and over. Even when he sighs, “I know, Mom.”
75. Mention to your child an innate ability she has.
76. Talk to your child about a positive character trait you’ve noticed in him.
77. Monitor your tone of voice, and keep it uplifting.
78. If you must call your child a name, make it a fun or encouraging one.
79. Laugh at your child’s jokes. If your laugh will be forced let her know how funny you thought it was. (“Hey, that was really funny.”)
80. During correction, let your child know you are confident he’ll succeed next time.
81. When you feel the need to criticize your child, think about how you’d like your spouse to address the same issue with you. Talk to your child the way you hope your spouse would talk to you about your failing.
82. Tell your child one reason you’re grateful to have her around.
83. Praise your child’s efforts and character in front of others. If you must seek advice over your child’s behavior, do it privately.
6) Encourage Your Child with Acts of Service
84. Do something for your child he can do for himself. Not on a regular basis, but as a gift.
85. Drive your child to events without complaint.
86. Sweep your teen’s room.
87. Fold your teen’s clothes.
88. Make your child a special piece of art for her room.
89. Make your child a special meal.
90. Host your child’s friends at your home. Make it a place the neighborhood can hang out.
91. When you put off your child’s reasonable request, remember, and do it as soon as possible without your child needing to ask again.
92. Help your child create or purchase gifts for friends and relatives.
93. Help your child plan a school project.
94. Sit with your child through a tough assignment. Offer encouragement and support.
95. Inventory your child’s closet and help replace outgrown items. If you shop at garage sales, buy ahead and store items in bins.
96. Replace your child’s toiletries without complaint. (Usually your child will remember she needs deodorant or shampoo right after you’ve gone shopping.)
97. Use your talents and abilities to the glory of God in service of your family. This could be knitting, baking, woodworking, or something less tangible.
98. Help your child clean her room until she has a good rhythm of her own and knows how to keep it clean.
99. Do your family chores together as a group.
100. Do everything for your family with joy. They are a gift from God.
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~ Danika Cooley
Danika Cooley is the author of When Lightning Struck! The Story of Martin Luther (Fortress Press, 2015), Wonderfully Made (CF4K, 2016), and Bible Road Trip. Her work has been featured in internationally-recognized children's magazines over 150 times.