How to Be the Encourager Your Kids Need You to Be

how to encourage others

“Instruction does much, but encouragement everything.” -Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

For five years, I worked at a business that sucked the life out of me. There were unrealistic demands, and compliments were hard to come by. It seemed that I was constantly reaching for the carrot of validation, but it was always just out of my grasp.

As time went by, I became immersed in the viscous cycle of constantly striving for approval. Before I knew it, I found myself in a bad relationship—with my job. Maybe it sounds silly, but it’s true. I don’t consider myself a person who needs a pat on the back every day, but it is nice to know that what you do matters.

And just like what von Goethe wrote, I got a ton of instruction, yet no encouragement to know that my time was valuable or appreciated. Can you relate?

Now looking back, I can see how my confidence dwindled because I wasn’t being encouraged. I took action at work, and did the same thing at home, applying the lessons I learned with these 3 ways to be the encourager my kids need me to be.

1. Make a compliment sandwich.

You may have heard this saying before, but it’s a great reminder. In haste, it’s easy to pick out the negative. Sometimes frustration gets the best of you. And you probably don’t mean it. Remember, when you have criticism to relay, surround it with good. After all, criticism without the “constructive part” just stinks. Without a doubt, the person on the receiving end will feel better about their ability—despite the setback—and I bet that she will exceed your expectations on the next go-round. So before you criticize your kids, compliment them (here are 99 ways to do that!).

2. Put it in writing.

There’s something to be said about a handwritten note. So when you have the chance, leave a note of encouragement for your kids. Or better yet, use these tips for writing a love letter to your child. A number of years ago, I participated in a study that challenged you to write thank-you notes to each person you work with. Not because they gave you something or did something for you…. just because. So I did this at work and at home.

3. Just do it.

It feels good to be an encourager, but it’s not natural for me, I must admit. But just a hint: If you don’t always get around to handwriting notes, there are so many ways to work encouragement into your daily interactions with your children:

So I encourage YOU to slow down (as much as you can), take a look around, and intentionally encourage your children at least once a day.

Whatever form it takes, your encouragement can change the course of  your child’s day, even their life. {Tweet This}

What was the best encouragement or compliment you’ve received?

Lori Clapper is a radio personality, freelance writer, editor, speaker, mom to three kids, and is married to an incredible guy.