The 6 phrases + praises to say to your child every day

Like #1—We love you. This is the most important phrase we want our daughter to hear. 

The 6 phrases + praises to say to your child every day

I want my daughter to be happy, confident, loving, and respectful. But how can I encourage in my daughter a healthy body image, make room for her to cultivate her personality, learn good manners, and develop positive intentions during an average day?

Mine and my husband’s parenting style evolves based on our daughter’s development and needs. One method we’ve used to create healthy habits that coincide with our child-rearing approach is to use these repeated phrases and praises in our daily activities to affirm who she is (no matter what she does or doesn’t do) and to help her grow into the best version of herself.


1. We love you

This is the most important phrase we want our daughter to hear. We want her to know the power of love, that our love is unconditional, and that she is in a secure and safe environment. Of course we try our best to model what we say in our actions, too. For her part, our daughter’s response comes through in her expressions and actions toward us: kissing my husband’s face all over when he puts her to bed at night, hugs around our legs when we are standing in the kitchen, moments of looking into my eyes and saying, “Hi mom,” and her desire to be involved no matter what we are doing.

Join Motherly

2. You should be so proud of yourself

Rather than using the phrase “I am so proud of you,” which (from my point of view) gives my daughter the impression that she needs to please me or that I am only satisfied if she has done something correctly, we turn it around. By telling her that she should be proud of herself, I am building my daughter’s confidence, acknowledging that she is capable of doing tasks or remembering important information without assistance. It helps her become proactive in learning for her own sake, independent of us.

An illustration may help: my daughter and I were recently on a walk and as we neared a road I said, “A road is coming up. What do we have to do?” She looked up and said, “Hold hands.” She then held my hand calmly as we crossed the street, rather than fighting me to let go. Her ability to recognize our need to hold hands boosted her confidence and made her more agreeable. I praised her thereafter saying, “Yay, you remembered! You should be so proud of yourself!”

3. You are beautiful

No matter what our daughter looks like, we tell her she is beautiful (though at 2 that’s pretty easy!). This phrase is not reserved only for when she wears a dress or her hair is combed. We tell her when she is not in our favorite outfits, or dressed in clothing that is less “pretty” and more ordinary; we tell her when her hair is a frizzy, curly mess on her head; we tell her when she fails and when she succeeds; we tell her when she is just being herself, oblivious to who is watching.

4. Thank you so much for your help

My daughter is two and she is becoming very independent but also very eager to help and be involved. We encourage this behavior whenever possible. As long as it is safe and we are nearby, we have no problem with her learning how to do tasks on her own. She enjoys unloading the dishwasher, folding her cloth diapers, and cleaning up her toys at nighttime (especially when I sing the “Clean Up” song). With a lot of patience from me and a lot of focus from her, we complete tasks together, always ending with a jubilant “Thank you!”

5. Doesn’t it feel nice to share?

Similar to number two, this phrase helps our daughter to recognize her good action and the positive feelings of that action. Whether sharing toys or food, saying this phrase after her action both reduces her tension about having to share (if she is being prompted to) and positively reinforces her own inclination to do so.

6. No, thank you

As our daughter grew more and more curious, we began saying “no” a lot. In turn, she would often say “no” back to our requests, with disgust. We didn’t intend to infuse such negativity into our expressions of guiding her away from, for example, what might harm her. So we began suggesting alternate activities to shift the focus from an immediate negative reaction on our part to a choice on her end.

Then we heard our sister-in-law saying “No, thank you” to her daughter and have since adopted the phrase in our own home. Although we are still saying “No” in some form, it is more courteous and less harsh. Our daughter now says it too, and in a much calmer tone: “No, thank you, mom” or “No, thank you, dad”.

Using these phrases and praises has created a calmer and more positive atmosphere in our home. It has given us all the opportunity to be loving and supportive to one another as we encourage and respect each other.

Join Motherly

These are the best bath time products you can get for under $20

These budget-friendly products really make a splash.

With babies and toddlers, bath time is about so much more than washing off: It's an opportunity for fun, sensory play and sweet bonding moments—with the added benefit of a cuddly, clean baby afterward.

Because bathing your baby is part business, part playtime, you're going to want products that can help with both of those activities. After countless bath times, here are the products that our editors think really make a splash. (Better yet, each item is less than $20!)

Comforts Bath Wash & Shampoo

Comforts Baby Wash & Shampoo

Made with oat extract, this bath wash and shampoo combo is designed to leave delicate skin cleansed and nourished. You and your baby will both appreciate the tear-free formula—so you can really focus on the bath time fun.

Munckin Soft Spot Bath Mat

Munchkin slip mat

When your little one is splish-splashing in the bath, help keep them from also sliding around with a soft, anti-slip bath mat. With strong suction cups to keep it in place and extra cushion to make bath time even more comfortable for your little one, this is an essential in our books.

Comforts Baby Lotion

Comforts baby lotion

For most of us, the bath time ritual continues when your baby is out of the tub when you want to moisturize their freshly cleaned skin. We look for lotions that are hypoallergenic, nourishing and designed to protect their skin.

The First Years Stack Up Cups

First year stack cups

When it comes to bath toys, nothing beats the classic set of stackable cups: Sort them by size, practice pouring water, pile them high—your little one will have fun with these every single bath time.

Comforts Baby Oil

Comforts baby oil

For dry skin that needs a little extra TLC, our team loves Comforts' fast-absorbing baby oil aloe vera and vitamin E. Pro tip: When applied right after drying off your baby, the absorption is even more effective.

KidCo Bath Toy Organizer

KidCo Bath Organizer

Between bathing supplies, wash rags, toys and more, the tub sure can get crowded in a hurry. We like that this organizer gives your little one space to play and bathe while still keeping everything you need within reach.

Another great tip? Shopping the Comforts line on to find premium baby products for a fraction of competitors' prices—and follow along on social media to see product releases and news at @comfortsforbaby.

This article was sponsored by The Kroger Co. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

Our Partners

9 products that will help baby sleep better (and longer!)

For many parents, attempting naps and bedtime can seem like a never-ending cycle of rocking, shushing and hoping for some kind of magic sleep solution.

How do I get my baby to sleep? This is one of the most commonly asked questions among new parents, and it makes sense, given that babies are born with their days and nights mixed up. For many parents, attempting naps and bedtime can seem like a never-ending cycle of rocking, shushing and hoping for some kind of magic sleep solution.

And while that might not exist (yet), we have found some of the best products out there that can help baby fall asleep faster and for longer durations. Because when baby is sleeping, so are you!

Dreamland Baby weighted sleep sack and swaddle

Designed by a mama, parents swear by this weighted sleep sack. It mimics your hug to give your baby security and comfort that helps them get to sleep faster and stay asleep longer. The detachable swaddle wing makes it easy to transition as they grow.

It's also super easy to get on and off, and includes a bottom-up zipper for late night changes, so you don't have to wake your baby in the process.


Yogasleep Hushh portable sound machine

Yogasleep hushh sound machine

With three soothing options, this is a perfect solution to help your baby settle when naps are on the go and during travel! I love how compact this noise machine is and that it can run all night with one charge.


Bebe au Lait muslin crib sheets

Burt's Bees Organic Crib Sheets

With a variety of print options to choose from, these breathable sheets are *so* soft and smooth, even through multiple washes. The luxury fabric keeps little ones warm without overheating—a formula that helps ensure more sleep for everyone.


The Simple Folk perfect pajamas

The Simple Folk perfect pajamas

You know what's going to help baby have their best sleep ever? Some quality, super soft pajamas. The timeless (and aptly named!) Perfect Pajama from The Simple Folk are some of our favorites. They last forever and they're made from organic pima cotton that is safe on baby's precious skin. They come in a wide range of sizes so siblings can match and feature fold-over hand covers on sizes up to 12 months.


The Snoo bassinet


Designed by expert pediatrician and sleep guru Dr. Harvey Karp, the Snoo bassinet gently rocks your baby to sleep while snuggled up in the built-in swaddle. Not only does it come with sensors that adjust the white noise and movement based on your baby's needs, there is also an app that allows you to adjust the settings directly from your phone.

While this item is a bit on the expensive side, there is now an option to rent for $3.50 a day, which is a total game changer!


Hatch Baby Rest sound machine + nightlight

best baby sound machine

The Hatch Baby Rest is a dual sound machine and nightlight that will grow with your family. Many parents use this product with their infants as a white-noise machine and then as a "time to rise" solution for toddlers.

The thing I love most about this product is that the light it gives off isn't too bright, and you can even select different color preferences; giving your toddler choices at bedtime.


Crane humidifier

Crane Humidifier

The only thing worse than a sick baby is a baby who is sick and not sleeping well. The Crane humidifier helps take care of this by relieving congestion and helping your baby breathe better while sleeping.

Personally, I think the adorable design options alone are enough of a reason to purchase this product, and your child will love watching steam come out of the elephant's trunk!


Naturepedic organic crib mattress

Naturpedic Lightweight Organic Mattress

In the first few months of life, babies can spend up to 17 hours a day sleeping, so choosing a mattress that is safe (read: no chemicals!) and comfortable is incredibly important.

Naturepedic uses allergen-friendly and waterproof materials with babies and children in mind, making them easy to clean and giving you peace of mind.


Happiest Baby sleepea 5-second swaddle

best baby swaddle

There are baby swaddles and then there is Sleepea. Similar to the brand's swaddle that is built into the Snoo, the Sleepea is magic for multiple reasons. First, it's got mesh panels ensuring baby never overheats. Second, the zipper zips from the top or the bottom, so you can change the baby's diaper in the middle of the night without ever waking them. Third, it's hip safe. Fourth, the patterns are SO cute. And fifth, the interior swaddle wrap that keeps baby's ams down has a "quiet" velcro that won't wake baby if you need to readjust while they're asleep.


We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.


It's science: Why your baby stops crying when you stand up

A fascinating study explains why.

When your baby is crying, it feels nearly instinctual to stand up to rock, sway and soothe them. That's because standing up to calm babies is instinctual—driven by centuries of positive feedback from calmed babies, researchers have found.

"Infants under 6 months of age carried by a walking mother immediately stopped voluntary movement and crying and exhibited a rapid heart rate decrease, compared with holding by a sitting mother," say authors of a 2013 study published in Current Biology.

Even more striking: This coordinated set of actions—the mother standing and the baby calming—is observed in other mammal species, too. Using pharmacologic and genetic interventions with mice, the authors say, "We identified strikingly similar responses in mouse pups as defined by immobility and diminished ultrasonic vocalizations and heart rate."

Keep reading Show less