Encouraging Your Kids
I’ve been thinking a lot about encouragement lately. I’m an affiliate with DaySpring and last year they had a 21-Day Encouragement Campaign. It was pretty simple: you committed to encouraging at least one person every day for 21 days. The goal is to come away having developed the habit of encouraging others. I love that idea. Who couldn’t use a little more encouragement?
This got me to thinking about ways to intentionally encourage those in my own family, particularly my kids. So often I’m telling them what to do and what not to do that I think I forget to encourage them along the way.
To help us all be more encouraging to our kiddos, I thought of ten ideas for us to try:
- Write them notes: On the day of a big event, like a test, game or presentation, write them a note of encouragement. Tell them how proud you are of them and how much you love them.
- Help them memorize encouraging Bible verses: Having God’s Word in their hearts will help them to rely on His power and strength in moments of need.
- Pray: Pray for them and with them. I love praying with my kids because not only do I get to hear their hearts, they also get to hear mine. They get to listen to me telling God how thankful I am for them and how I’m confident of His great plans for their lives.
- Empathize: Remember what it was like to be their age and empathize with their feelings, good or bad. Relate and share a story about when you were a kid and felt the same way. Vulnerability goes a long way and helps us all feel like we’re not the only ones who have gone through something.
- Praise them: Often, in private and in public. They will walk away with a spring in their step if you honor them in front of other people.
- Physical touch: A warm embrace when they’re sad, a high five for a job well done or a snuggle on the couch when they’re sick all express love and encouragement. Even in moments when you’re disciplining your kids, healthy physical touch can remind them of your love.
- Make them laugh: Sometimes, laughter truly is the best medicine. When your kids are down, tell them some jokes or get a book of Mad Libs and have fun reading the silly stories together.
- Buy them a gift: It doesn’t have to be expensive, just a little something that lets them know you’re thinking of them. Perhaps it’s their favorite ice cream, a small toy or a new book.
- Know what they like: Keep track of their favorite things, like TV shows, movies, music, books and food. This will give you topics of conversation and will help you connect with them, which is encouraging and comforting to kids.
- Let them fail and help them back up: This is so hard to do, but is so good for kids. We need to let them fail sometimes, whether that’s falling off their bike or letting them turn in homework that’s not going to get a good grade. When we let them fail under our guidance, we can teach them that mistakes and failure are part of life. We can teach them that no matter what, we love them and are here for them. That’s encouragement that will stick with them!
Andrea enjoys wandering around bookstores and meeting friends for coffee, although she’s not a coffee drinker herself. (She prefers a good chai latte instead.) She loves traveling, has had her passport since age two, and has been to nearly 20 countries.
Connect with Andrea on her blog, www.andreafortenberry.com or at www.facebook.com/andreabfortenberry.