Kids (4-12)

10 Compliments Your Kids Need to Hear

Children look to their moms for encouragement. These compliments for kids go a long way in giving them the boost they need. “Husbands need compliments too!  Here are 10 Compliments for Your Husband.

1. Compliment their character.

We live in a world where integrity is neither consistently taught nor widely expected. When our children demonstrate honesty, kindness, trustworthiness and reliability, that’s a great time to take them aside and offer a sincere compliment.

2. Compliment obedience and respect.

It’s too easy to fall into patterns of disapproval, where the only time we notice is when kids do wrong. Rather than waiting for disobedience or disrespect (then coming down like a ton of bricks) try noticing obedience and respect: “I don’t always remember to tell you, but you are an awesome young man, and I appreciate the way you treat your mother”.

3. Compliment them for simply being part of the family.

“Every time I see you, I’m thankful that I’m your Mom.” Kids need to understand that they are valued simply because they are.

4. Compliment contributions to the family.

“Clearing the table (sweeping the porch… putting out the trash) makes a real difference. I appreciate your contribution.” Kids need to understand that what they do makes a difference, that the adults notice, and that pitching in is a good part of family life.

5. Compliment the quality of their work.

“This is one clean porch, mister!” “You mowed the lawn right up to the edge.  Way to go!  I’m so glad you take this job so seriously, it shows.” Doing a job at a high standard is always worth noting.

6. Compliment the effort, even when the result is not the best

“Your willingness to help makes me happy! Now we need to take a look at how you can get the trash to the curb without leaving a trail!” Compliments can be an important part of our role as teachers.

7. Compliment when they achieve something new

“Wow! That’s a huge leap forward for you there in math, pal.” “Awesome! I’m not at all surprised after you worked so hard.” A well-placed compliment can keep a positive ball rolling.

8. Compliment their sense of style even if we don’t exactly share their taste

We don’t want to force our kids into being clones of us. “When it comes to putting together an outfit, you certainly have some flair!” “I can tell that you put a lot of thought into the way you look.” “I’ve never seen a table set quite like that before – you have an amazing imagination!” It’s not useful to limit compliments to the narrow range of our own taste.

9. Compliment steps toward a long-term goal

“Son, the improvement you’re showing is commendable. Thanks for trying.” Waiting for perfection before we’re willing to dish out a compliment is inefficient, may dampen enthusiasm, and does little to help the process of growth.

10. Compliment their friends

But only do this when you can do it honestly! “Your friends are the greatest!” “That Jake is such a good kid.” “You know, it gives me a lot of confidence to know you use common sense in choosing your friends.”

© 2011 iMOM. All Rights Reserved. Family First, All Pro Dad, iMOM, and Family Minute with Mark Merrill are registered trademarks.

  • drrichardnorris

    11. Compliment their faith as it grows. We likely know of kids who have strayed. You are a real prayer warrior. I love how you took the initiative to help put await the song books. etc.

    • Lisa

      @ drrichnorris I love your idea to complement their faith! I believe this is almost the most important one!!!!!! Thank you for your great ideas to share with practically new parents!

      • drrichardnorris

        Thank you Lisa. Being a parent is a big responsibility and blessing. Every day I pray that my wife and I will serve our kids better.

        • Aardvark

          Why do you have to pray for that? Can’t you just serve your kids to the best of your ability every day?

          • Zummy

            lol, religion is so funny.

    • zobs

      no, 10

    • Anna

      It’s not their faith you are complimenting. It’s yours and your ability to influence them and what you think they should believe. Let them stray and compliment them on looking to find their own path. If they come back, it means it is right also for them, not just for you.

      • jules

        You sound bitter. It is their faith that we compliment. You obviously were not taught how to cultivate and nurture faith. Don’t knock other people’s parenting efforts to make yourself feel better.

        • Anna

          “Don’t knock other people’s parenting efforts to make yourself feel better.”
          Wise words for you to live by also.

          • jules

            Thanks! I’ll be sure to remember that while I compliment my children’s faith.

          • Kelsey

            It takes 2 people to argue. . . And a third one to say stop arguing you big dummies! Haha. Both of you have a point but you don’t have to point out the flaws in someone else’s point in order to get your point across. 10 points for Griffindor! I win :) no really. Stop arguing over this and then I will compliment you on how much of an adult you are.

      • Ruth

        Wow, we are their parents, of course influence their belief. “Let them stray”, are you serious? I have a great faith in God and it is the foundation of my marriage and family was built on. I want to children to do the same.

        • Truth

          Your marriage was built on primal mutual attraction, faith had nothing to do with it.

      • nats

        Oh Anna I could not agree with you more!

    • Ruth

      Yes, compliment their faith. I live by faith.

    • JimmyNice

      This is a great article, but I’m glad it didn’t try to add religious fairy tales to the mix.

      I’d rather not indoctrinate my kids with Santa for adults just because it was pushed on me. People need to take a hard look at the only reason they have their “faith” is solely based on the region of the world you were born in and what your parent believed. Just think about how people in your religious circle are treated if they dare to disagree with your cults.. sorry religions… doctrine.

      The validity of Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Shintoism, Hinduism are no different than Norse, Greek, Celtic, Mayan or Egyptian that are not defunct. They all had the same level of history and literature behind them. They all had belief systems that lasted for thousands of years and were all based on humans trying to explain a natural world around them they could not understand.

      Well we understand more and more of our world and universe everyday. Poking more and more holes in what those religious texts tell us. We know the earth revolves around the sun. We know the earth isn’t 6,000 years old. We know that animals didn’t just appear in their present state, but evolved over millions of years.

      Which is why so many religions fear science because it confirms the stories in their teachings are wrong. Even religions that claim to embrace science such as Islam, do it with the caveat, “so long as it doesn’t contradict our holy book” … and they can’t have a supposedly infallible holy text be wrong.

      But those texts, like all the hundreds of religions before them, were created by and written down by humans. Humans are infallible and bigoted and biased. Humans created all religions to control those weaker around them (making children and women property) and simply because we don’t want to face the fact that we die.

      We are terrified of death. Face the fact that non existence after we die is no different then the non existence before we were born. Live life for the incredible experience it is, not for the hopes of getting some pat on the head from a non-existent, misogynistic, space fairy.

      Teach your kids they can do anything. Teach them to question. Show them right from wrong. I won’t let anyone tell my daughters that they can’t teach or hold authority over a man or that they are property to be sold to a man to do as he wishes. Keep your so called faith to yourself.

      • ceh25

        It hurts my heart to read things like this. You just wrote a 2 page comment on not pushing your beliefs on others? You seem to feel pretty passionately about something that you claim doesn’t exist. I wish you knew God as I do and could feel the peace and joy that He gives, even when your world is crumbling. I wish those who are so vehemently against it would just give it a try and see if it changes your life. If God’s not real then what do you really have to lose?

        • JimmyNice

          My world isn’t crumbling. It’s great. I get passionate when people try to push their fairytales on my kids or in their schools.

          You are quoting “Pascal’s wager” … By that logic you should also be worshipping Vishnu just to keep your bases covered. you know… because what if the Hindu’s are right and you’re wrong.

          I’m not making any kind of claim. Religion has made the claim “My particular flavor of god exists!” and the burden of proof is always on the claimant. If I say I have a dancing miniature bear in a box on my lap, I have to prove that claim. You don’t have to take it on faith.

          I don’t KNOW that some sort of all knowing all powerful being doesn’t exist… just like I don’t know if there is a bathtub orbiting Jupiter. I do know that I haven’t seen ANY evidence a deity of any kind. There is a million dollar prize that’s been sitting waiting for decades for anyone who can show proof. It still lies unclaimed.

          All current religions have is the same thing all the failed religions had. Tomes written centuries or millennia before, by men trying to keep their slaves, women and children in line.

          • Jaqui De Kock

            Thank God I serve a God who is as real as you and me. God does not have to prove Himself to you or me. He is the creator of all things and one day every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.
            God is not a religion, He is a person. A Person who has changed my life, a Person whom I talk to every day and I hear His voice. I see His hand in my life, in my family, in my business.
            He loves you so much, He even sent His son to die for us. And if you were the only person on earth, He would send Jesus just for you to die so that you can inherit eternal life.
            I am not afraid to die, I know that this life is just rehearsal. The best is yet to come.
            You have the choice between life and death….choose life. I am quoting the Word of God.

          • Cheryl Brand

            Your god killed his own son because he couldn’t forgive 2 people for giving into a temptation that he put there .How mean and vindictive is that . He is all powerful and all forgiving. I think not . The type of person he is ( if real ) would not inspire my love and devotion . Adolf Hitler killed less people and he is scorned as the biggest evil that ever existed . Your God killed everyone but a favoured few , think about the attributes of fictional characters you choose to adore and at least love kind caring ones – not narcissistic ones who demand all adore him or burn in hell for all eternity.

          • Jaqui De Kock

            Hahahahaha, no really, at least know the facts before you make snap judgements. I can’t even argue with you.
            The Word says “my people perish due to a lack of knowledge”. So true.
            Just to correct you on one thing so you can stop ever speaking such lies, God did not kill Jesus. Jesus offered to come to earth. He specifically said “send Me”. He was prepared to die, to be the perfect and last ever sacrifice, to die for our sins so we did not have to go to hell.
            Maybe if you understood you would love Him like He loves you.
            Yes, He is all loving and all forgiving. He loves you in spite of what you say.
            The devil is a liar and so many believe his lies.

          • Cheryl Brand

            This does not dispute the theology that you believe .Which is someone had to die so an all powerful God could forgive all of humanity for the perceived sins of 2 people . Your all powerful god could just have forgiven them – or not put the temptation there in the first place. If a parent puts a cake in front of a 2 year old and tells the child not to eat it , the fault lies with the parent when the cake gets eaten . Not the children of the child

          • Jaqui De Kock

            Hey Cheryl. I can understand how you are trying to reason this in human terms. But there is so much detail that you are missing. You can’t look at a picture, take one or two sentences and think you have it all figured out. I challenge you to go read what actually happened. God created man for His pleasure and He walked with man as a friend. Man chose (God gives us free choice always) to sin, God was not happy as a parent would not be, but He always gave man a way out. If you knew the God I serve you would understand that He is a God of rules, a God who requires your all but will give you love and favour unconditionally if you dedicate your heart to Him.
            There is a history of thousand of years in the Bible of what man did, always straying away, God, like a loving Father, always gently guided them back. I can’t tell you everything in such a short spam of time. You need to read it all.
            God was never the bad guy. In His infinite love, He sent Jesus to sacrifice once and for all, and if you believe in Him and love Him. Jesus erases everything you ever did and gives you eternal life and all you have to do is believe in Him. People look at the crucifixion (which was carried out by sinful man and their choices once again) and they get stuck there, but it happened for a reason, so that you and your children could inherit eternal life. I am not sad that Jesus died because He lives and I will spend eternity with Him. This life is only a rehearsal. Your eternity depends on the choices you make. Jesus said I give you the choice between life and death….choose life. It is also your choise. But I feel I need to tell you that Jesus loves you so much, He knew you before you were formed in your mother’s womb, He knows all your hurts, all your concerns and He is always waiting to hear from you. If you were the only person on earth He would die just for you.
            I don’t want to argue about this because that is not who God is, God is loving and kind and gentle. Jesus’ last words before He was taken to Heaven was that we loved as He loves us.

          • iowagirl

            This brings up valid points that I strive to do for our kiddos on a daily basis. Why does everyone always have to be negative or look into someone elses replies.


            1. Compliment your children!!!! We all have our own ways to incorporate this into our lives. These are ment to be positive and non- judgemental. We all want to be the best parent we can be so be POSITIVE AND CUT OUT THE NEGATIVITY!

          • Zummy

            Lol, religion is funny. Funny in a genocidal way.

          • Jaqui De Kock

            Ps: the way you and so many other argue MY God shows that you believe He exists. You just don’t like what you “think” He did. But you just don’t know the facts. If you understand what He did for YOU you would change your thoughts. Stop listening to what others say and make informed decisions.

          • Zummy

            Woooo!!! Lol, you have a way with words.

      • Anna Liu

        I believe in St. Nicholas, because of his kindness to the poor …but not in Santa today… too much business for Christmas

      • Brad

        yeah for real. I’m not to push my opinions on my kids but it’s perfectly ok for some jackass to write a novel on how dumb it is to have beliefs. Pretty sure you are as bad as what you stand for. Get a life. Anyone who read that diatribe in its entirety is now dumber for it. Go fornicate yourself with a rusty spike

      • Taz

        Hey jimmy nice,although i totally agree with u abt other religions…. I just have to say that God saw this all and so the last of His Prophet Mohommad SAW…. Was sent with The Holy Quraan and God himself tookup the responsibility of making sure no one ever changes a single letter of it! The miricle of Quraan is that it rhymes and entire book gets preserved in the hearts of those who try to learn it. And so 1400 yrs later it still holds its original script and constantly amazes science and proves it wrong with time.

        Anyways inspite of this Satan does not let us be…. He divides and misguides us on the basis of translating and understanding the very original script!

        The point is whenever a person tries to b close to God ,Satan will b there to somehow misguide Him! Thats satans promise!

        Because only if we put some kind of God in the child only then will he grow up to find his own path through questons or pondering etc

        But if we dont tell Him abt God and fearing Him and trusting and relying upon Him and being thankful etc….. He will become hopeless and lonely/depressed at times of tragedy and an animal in other eras of life…. Having no kind of accountability what so ever.

        Hope u get my point of view too.

        • JimmyNice

          That’s hilarious… “all the other religions are crazy but MINE makes sense”. Islam is just as laden with contradictions, fallacies and misogynistic rhetoric as most religions. Sure you accept Science… to a point “As long as it doesn’t directly contradict our holy text” . I don’t prescribe to any religion, but if you want a religion that actually just readily accepts all things as they truly are… try Buddhism… I want to think you are serious and just pushing the typical “try and swing people to my religion” .. “thing” … but you talk like a devout Muslim… and miss spell both Mohammed and the Quran… you’ve been entertaining to say the least.

          • Liezel

            You’re all right. And I have to agree. I also have a problem with religion. Rituals created by people, each convinced that theirs is correct. Which is why I’m not a “Christian” in the religious sense of the word. I hardly know what our practices are. But I would like to know why, if there is no God, were we born with the curiosity and longing for a relationship with a Higher Being. It can’t be about survival only? We would then be no different from animals.

            I will not convince anyone to believe if they don’t want to. Its not my job, not my place. I can only state with absolute certainty that nothing in my life just “happened” by coincidence. That I live by faith, and not by religion. And that I’ve been proven wrong time and time again whenever I thought I could do everything by myself, and things would coincidentally fall into place as soon as I give up and give over to Him.

            If its a false sense of Hope or security, then so be it. But I will be certain to give my kids something to hold on to when they see no reason to see things through, to give it one last go. It remains their decision whether to accept it or not. But I hope that they never have to feel like they were nothing before and will be nothing again, with no reason to exist, and no-one to hold on to when human beings fail you.

          • Zummy

            Lol, that had me laughing pretty hard too!

        • Cheryl Brand

          If you need a fear of God in your life to do the right thing you are amoral . You need empathy, compassion and a generous heart . Religion starts war – like right now on this page . Religion is like a penis – its all right to have one , its alright to be proud of it , but don’t whip it out in public and ram it down my throat and think you are better than me because you have one,

      • Zummy

        Here, Here!! Well said, good sir.

    • Lisa Torres

      This should be number one. Totally awesome.

    • NancyJane

      Not everyone believes. This article is respectful of that fact.

    • Aardvark

      Barf. Prayer warrior.

    • Aardvark

      I’m not religious. My family is very happy. Do you still recommend this for me? Is it a big tent, or are only people who believe like you do “ok”?

    • Aardvark

      “This article is great, except it doesn’t exclude people who don’t believe the same thing I do.”

  • cfbcfb

    About half of these can be boiled down to “Praise the effort, not the ability”. Way too often we say “Great! You’re so smart” or “Wow, you ran really fast on that play”. This raises the childs dependency on their abilities. When you say “You worked really hard on this project and it shows” or “You didn’t give up on that play” you encourage them to rely less on their abilities and more on giving an effort.

    Effort + abililty + opportunity = success

    • drrichardnorris

      Well said. My focus with our kids is to ensure that have fun whilst they do their best.

  • Jolene

    Even as an adult, I wouldn’t hearing other adults doing this to each other! Maybe it’s just because I was never encouraged as a child (nothing I did was”good enough” and I’m still not meeting whatever unrealistic expectations out there.).

    • Bevish

      I agree Jolene. I have an adult child, (age 21) and I was thinking I could use these guidelines to remind myself to compliment and encourage his hard work at school, job, and home. Kind words are appreciated by everyone, no matter your age.

  • jason

    Hey on that note dont compliment them on cleaning their room, because its really not their room its yours. Even if you think religion is fairy tale letting them find there own sounds like a great idea considering no religion tells you to let your seed wonder astray and find there own someday may be. So yea leave them alone and let them find there own identity and let someone else influence them on beliefs that could have ben instilled by you. And when they do decide to practice cannibalism embrace it. Wow! And we wonder why it is this way in this day and age.

    • Aardvark


  • Maevelada

    Wow, so sorry someone’s exposure to religion was all negative or”crammed down your throat, or brainwashed” ok I Wow, so sorry someone’s exposure to religion was all negative or”crammed down your throat, or brainwashed” ok I apologize for taking paraphrasing liberties but not all religion is negative there are truly happy living Christians out there if u open your eyes and heart. Let your children learn and explore, but stop them before they run into the street full of cars or burn themselves on a hot stove. And whatever analogy u want to envision with respect of religion or faith, if u truly love them you will allow them to make their own mistakes and find their true selves. Ps all religion or religious influence is not bad. And how is it that many religions have similar beliefs? Perhaps we all believe in the same God just culturally interpreted differently. apologize for taking paraphrasing liberties but not all religion is negative there are truly happy living Christians out there if u open your eyes and heart. Let your children learn and explore, but stop them before they run into the street full of cars or burn themselves on a hot stove. And whatever analogy u want to envision with respect of religion or faith, if u truly love them you will allow them to make their own mistakes and find their true selves. Ps all religion or religious influence is not bad. And how is it that many religions have similar beliefs? Perhaps we all believe in the same God just culturally interpreted differently.

  • drrichardnorris

    As parents we are meant to establish the boundaries that give them te context in which our kids can grow and develop. Sure we aren’t perfect but a laissez-faire approach is a crap-shoot.

    • Cheryl Brand

      I agree completely with this statement . Children need guidance, love, consistence and acceptance. This can happen with or without a religious input. Moral guidelines are the core of society (or should be). Even a mongrel dog likes a pat on the head and a loving home!

  • Amy Beilharz

    Compliments are the most powerful parenting skill you can develop!

    • iMOM

      We agree!

  • Maswida Mustafa

    Number 8 is a bit difficult especially when we having guest at home but they also want to serve the guest their way or when they choose their own style for outing I just can’t bear it…

  • Kylie

    I don’t know about the ‘Compliment obedience’, respect YES, obedience no, we are not training dogs, we growing future adults, and I for 1 would rather raise adults who use their own initiative, not adults who’ll grow up doing as their told, no way. Compliment children using their own initiative, and standing up against the crowd!

    • Veg Gal

      Yes, but at some point if you ask them to take out the trash what do you want them to do? You want them to be obedient to your request and take the trash out. Sure, you don’t exactly have to take the trash out, but there are some poor consequences to having trash piling up in your house, not excluding eventually having your house quarantined. As much as we don’t want to admit it there are things in life where it’s just better to follow the rules, and that my friend is obedience. Respect comes later when they can actually understand that although taking out the trash is not fun, it something that is good for the family. At first they need to just take out the trash whether or not they want to, and if you complement them for doing this task it will be easier for them to respect you and your requests later.

  • Carol McMeans

    In order to compliment our children on any aspect of their lives, we as parents are charged with directing, educating and serving as an example of all the above mentioned characteristics. To simply throw empty compliments at our children for something that they are not doing or don’t know how to do is useless and detrimental to healthy development of the child. We must teach our children what we want them to know and do and to set goals. Then compliment the actions taken toward achieving those goals. When they reach the age of accountability is when they decide for themselves which path they wish to follow. But when they are children, it is our duty to guide their lives in the way we believe to be correct. That is all we can do.

  • Aardvark

    Everybody who’s so angrily religious on this thread, can I get you to state your level of education?

  • kysakai

    Great article. Always good to have reminders!

    • iMOM

      Glad you liked it!

  • Nancy Nuzer

    Everyday my children and when my granddaughter left for school our catch phrase was “I know you’ll make me proud cause you always do!” as they got on the bus.

  • Cheryl Brand

    Such a great article
    Just rang my adult son for a chat and told him how proud of him I am . Thanks for the reminder!

  • deanmay

    How about you just compliment them every chance you get, be willing to admit your own shortcomings, and love on them for all you are worth. You won’t get it all right. Don’t worry about it. As long as you love them and are willing to display your own failures.

  • Killiekins

    Thankyou for sharing, great read

  • Marie

    Heavily Father, i pray today for all those that have read this article, will read this article and for those reading/commenting below, that you will show each and every one of us a piece of your True love, that they will all come to know you through the love of others. I am praying for the enemy to leave their thoughts and stop filling them with lies and false hope. Come Lord Jesus, Come. We need you. Amen.

    • BlahBlah


    • Richelle

      And it’s you who are the strong one here. Amen. May all people find faith in SOMETHING. If no faith in anything, then what do you look forward to? No hope? Then they aren’t really living.

  • Debra King

    Absolutely praise the effort – not the result! My daughter recently earned her GS Gold Award (the highest in Girl Scouts) during her Junior year of HS with the heaviest load of courses and extracurriculars she had ever had. The achievement is phenomenal – but I focused on the fact that she had set that goal and worked so hard for it. That is the life skill that will matter in the end.

  • Lindi Boonzaier


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