5 Essential Phrases to Say to Your Kids (Often)


When we’re in the trenches of parenting our kids, it’s often easy to find ourselves “losing it.” I know you know what I mean when I say that. On many days we feel like we lose our patience, or our tenderness, or even (temporarily) our minds. We sometimes reach a point where it feels like all we’ve done all day is nag, reprimand, sigh heavily, and shake our heads.

We’ve all been there, and we’ve all said and done things we regret when feeling stressed or scared, or just plain, old annoyed. Parenting is truly the toughest job in the world.

So, I’ve always found it helpful to have a little stash of easily accessible phrases and mantras on hand to center myself and remind me of some of the big-picture parenting truths that are easy to lose sight of in the heat of the moment. (Pro tip, keep your favorite mantras in the Notes app on your phone to refer to quickly at any time.)

I recently found some really smart and succinct phrases from Big Life Journal that should resonate with, and benefit parents with kids ages five and up. Here they are:

1 “I’m sorry. I made a mistake. I should have been calmer when I spoke to you.”

It’s so important that our kids see us experiencing all the same things they do. When we get frustrated and say things we don’t really mean, it’s vital to acknowledge that and to apologize to them. This helps them learn to own their own mistakes and know when to apologize to someone else.

2 “I know it’s hard. And I also know you can do hard things.”

Growing up and learning life skills is basically getting used to failing and feeling exasperated – until a child catches on and gains a new skill. Whether your kid is five and learning how to ride a bike, or is fifteen and is learning geometry, life can feel super hard. When we recognize their struggles yet assure them that we know they can do hard things, we are strengthening our bond with them and helping them learn persistence.

3 “It’s not my job to make you happy. It’s my job to take care of you and keep you safe.”

It’s super easy to fall into the parenting trap of attempting to keep our kids happy all the time. Sometimes both we -and they – need the reminder that it’s not up to us to be responsible for their happiness. It is up to us to help them understand that happiness and contentment are a state of mind that they can choose to adopt whenever they want to – and that no one is happy all the time.

4 “I love you just the way you are. Nothing will change that.”

This is truly one of the most important messages we can ever convey to our kids. They feel more than enough pressure from friends, school, and society in general to be constantly achieving more. Our love and acceptance of who they are, and not what they achieve or how they look, is the foundation of the relationship we’ll have with them for the rest of our life.

5 “You’ll never get in trouble for talking to me about something that’s bothering you.”

Every child needs to hear this on a regular basis, and to know that their parents are a safe place whenever they want to express any emotions, any fears, and any confusion about anything. When this honesty and acceptance is encouraged from an early age, it will make the teen years a whole lot easier.

Check out the Big Life Journal site for more science-based tools and positive parenting resources for kids ages 5+