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20 Things your kids need to hear you say

Between school and activities, meaningful conversations are sometimes crunched out of the parent-child relationship. Make sure your kid hears you say these 20 things during his or her childhood, no matter how busy you are.

Mother speaking with child |

Photo credit: RyanJLane/Vetta/Getty Images
Between school and activities, meaningful conversations are sometimes left out of the parent-child relationship. Make sure your kid hears you say these 20 things during his or her childhood, no matter how busy you are.

Words to live by

Your schedule is never too busy to share these 20 sentiments — and the intentions behind them — with your life’s most precious gift. We swear it will only take a minute of your time to pour goodness into your children with these words.


“Life is meant to be enjoyed.” The less time your kids waste with activities and disciplines that bring them little joy, the better. Life means little when it has no joy in it.


“It’s time to start using deodorant.” Your kid needs coaching about everything it means to be a grown-up, including hygiene, periods, body hair and sex.


“Thank you.” Let your child know you appreciate her strengths, weaknesses and existence. Every child needs a parent who is grateful he or she is alive.


“Try to stick this out.” Children learn perseverance by holding steady through discomfort and confusion. They need someone to tell them that the present challenge will pass.


“Sometimes, it’s OK to quit.” Occasionally, calling it quits is the best way to salvage a terrible situation and refocus on the priorities that actually bring joy.


“I’m sorry.” You’ll never nail this parenting thing perfectly. Humility, however, can restore the relationship when you get something wrong.


“It’s called a vagina (or a penis).” Give your child the words to accurately name his or her anatomy. Frank discussions about anatomy can actually help prevent sexual abuse against your child.


“You can do this.” Remain in your child’s corner, no matter what he or she is up against. They can do this (no matter what “this” is) as long as you stand with them.


“If you can’t do this, it’s OK.” Ultimately, though, pursuing any goal is your child’s choice. Give him or her freedom to make decisions about whether a goal is a worthy effort.


“Just try one bite.” Experiment with tastes, smells and experiences that are outside the box to develop a well-rounded kid.


“What do you want to be when you grow up?” Know and understand your child’s dreams. We promise, kids have them, and they have them richly.


“You are beautiful.” Do you like to be told that you’re beautiful, inside and out? Your children do, too.


“Let’s turn off the TV and play together.” You may hear some whining, but your kid will never remember an episode of Caillou like he remembers playing G.I. Joe with you.


“Go to bed.” Stick to your family’s rules to teach your kid respect for authority and structure.


“Yes.” Your child is probably as tired of hearing “no” as you are of saying it. Blow expectations out of the water by saying “yes” every once in a while. Spontaneity breeds joy.


“No.” That said, know when to play and when to parent. Your child will become an intolerable adult if he or she never hears the word “no” from you.


“Speak up for what you need in life.” Kids need to learn the authority of their voice and the importance of their needs from a young age.


“It’s OK to cry. It’s OK to feel angry.” Validate feelings, no matter what they are. Emotional intelligence is a skill learned by safely experiencing the full range of human feelings.


“Don’t worry about me.” Set your kid free to enjoy his or her own life by emphasizing that you are your own person. You are adult enough to handle your feelings about your child’s choices, and your kid needs to know that.


“I love you, no matter what.” Enough said.

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