Say these things on the walk to the bus or during snack time. In fact, any time is a good time!

Whether they are in preschool, elementary school, or heading into middle school, offering encouraging words for students can make all the difference between a just-okay day and an amazing day. Whatever time of day, there’s always a moment to remind your kids how much you believe in them and how you can’t wait to hear all about it! We’ve found 22 simple phrases and prompts that can add a dose of positivity to your kids’ day; be sure to keep them in your back pocket—you’ll never know when they’ll come in handy. 

1. I can’t wait to see what your day brings. Put a positive spin on their daily morning routine when they fly out the door to catch the bus.

2. Do your best! Send them off with good vibes and encouraging words so they’ll be primed to achieve whatever they put their minds to.

3. Can I get a hug? Shh … this one’s really more about you than them, but they don’t need to know that. Hugs at the beginning of the day send a clear message of love to your little one.

4. I’ll think about you today! Just this one simple phrase lets your child know that he’ll be on your mind throughout the day, and sometimes that’s enough of a boost.

5. Do you have everything you need? It’s an easy question, but just asking it can assure both you and your child that she is prepared for her day. Lunch (or lunch money), homework, books, a special toy … whatever it is, taking a moment to ask and make sure she has what she needs to have a happy and successful day lets her know that you care.

6. You look great! Although this one can bring a smile to the young ones as well, these encouraging words are great to throw to the older kids as they trudge out the door into a social-media-driven world that can have seriously adverse effects on self-esteem.

7. You’ve got this! School is tough, much tougher than when we were kids, and the everyday pressures of homework, tests, quizzes, projects and more… well, it’s enough to make even the most self-assured kid second guess his or her abilities. Just giving your child one final boost of positivity with these words of encouragement as he scrambles out the door can be enough to boost that self-confidence for the rest of the day.

Related: 25 Things You Should Say to Your Kids Every Day

mom offering words of encouragement for students to her daughter


8. I’ll be right here when you get back. There are hours that are going to pass between taking your child to school and picking him up, and in that time, a lot can happen. Let him know that you’re going to be right there when he’s finished with his day, whether good or bad. This tiny little assurance can help slightly younger nervous kids take often difficult steps towards school.

9. I can’t wait to hear about your day! Encourage your children to look for the positive in the day by letting them know you’ll be ready to hear all about it when you see each other again.

10. You roll with the punches like a champ. Busy families have ever-changing schedules where flexibility is key. Letting your little ones know that you recognize their ability to also be flexible is important.

11. Thanks for sharing your day with me. Nothing says, “I’m listening” after the day’s download quite like this one. Frasier Crane would be proud.

12. You are a good person. People of all ages need words of encouragement like this to let them know that their presence, personality, and decisions are noticed and appreciated.

13. Thanks for helping out! when they go above and beyond to keep your family’s groove grooving, let them know how proud you are!

14. Your thoughtfulness shines through. Save this one for the simple gestures they make throughout the day, like helping out a friend or sharing with a sibling.

15. I like how you handled that. Using encouraging words for students like this lets them know you approve of how they managed tough situations can put smiles back on their faces and give them the confidence to tackle future challenges.


Related: 10 Things That’ll Help You Raise Resilient Kids

dad and daughter enjoying time together with their dog


16. I’m so happy you’re home. I missed you. Because even though parents joke about alone time, we’re happiest when our kids are by our sides.

17. I was thinking about you today when … sharing your day with them lets kids know they’re loved, even when you’re not around to show it.

18. Your joy puts a smile on my face too. This one makes an impact when they come off the bus or through the door with big smiles.

19. I’ll bet your friends/teacher appreciated your ___________ today. Insert your favorite adjective here; no matter which one you choose, letting your kids know others see this same quality in them is super empowering.

20. It sounds like you worked hard today. Whether they took a tough test, ran a mile in P.E., or just tried their best, praise that perseverance. Go grit!

21. What do you want to do now? Set aside some time for when kids first come home from school to let them relax and unwind in their own way, whether that be stopping by the library or ice cream shop or just having free time to run around the yard. Their day has been stressful too, and letting them choose how to spend the first bit after school can be a powerful tone-setter for the rest of the evening.

22. You should be so proud of yourself. A phrase that’s important for kids (and adults!) of all ages—use it often, but especially at the end of a hard day at school.

—with additional reporting by Dhyana Levy

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