What to say to your kids instead of “good job”

“Good job!”

The universal phrase to express pride, encouragement, enjoyment, amazement, appreciation, and virtually all other emotions in two simple words. According to an article on Huff Post Parents and Parent Speak author Jennifer Lehr, “everyday phrases such as ‘good job’ can be harmful to kids because parents use them too frequently and without explanation.”

Other common reminders like “say thank you” and “be careful” are often heard on the playground and can undermine children’s confidence.

So, what’s a parent to say instead? We have some ideas, but we also understand that these catch phrases are hard habits to break and suggest first tuning into your urges to say them. As Lehr explains on the Workman Publishing blog, there is “so much substance, connection, and gratitude waiting to get out.”




“Good job!”

Context Instead…
Mastering a skill, ie. handstand “You’ve been working on your handstand all week. Now your legs are so straight! How does it feel?
Scoring a goal “Congratulations! That was so exciting to watch!”
Overcoming a fear “I could tell that you were feeling nervous and yet you did it. You are very brave!”
Helping out around the house “Thanks for the help!”
Completing a piece of art “Wow! You used a lot of blue today. Can you tell me about that part?”


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