Education

125 Positive Words of Encouragement for Kids

Every student needs to hear words of encouragement. Students believe what we tell them, so positive words can be a powerful tool for all students, not just those who are struggling. And what we say to kids helps them develop their internal “voice.” Research shows that kids who grow up hearing encouraging words have strong self-motivation and are less concerned with pleasing others. Using words of encouragement today helps kids’ self-confidence tomorrow.

How To Use Encouraging Words

Sometimes how you say something is as important as what you say. Use these three tips when using encouraging words for kids.

Focus on Effort

Kids need to know that they have influence over outcomes in their lives. This builds their growth mindset and helps them develop the persistence they need to tackle challenges.

Be Specific

General encouragement (good job, that’s great) doesn’t give students any information that they need to understand what they are doing that’s good and how they can get better. Add statements that tell the student what you appreciate, like “You are being so creative” or “I love how you stuck with that problem.”

Avoid Overpraising

Praise can be too much of a good thing. If a child hears too much praise, or too much praise that is general and not related to what they are doing, it can lose the effect you want it to have. And when children are overpraised, they may think they don’t have to try anymore.

Words of Encouragement for Everyone

  • You make me smile.
  • I love having you in my class.
  • Your choices matter.
  • Your opinion matters.
  • You are an important member of this class.
  • I am proud of you.
  • I know you can handle it.
  • You are creative.
  • Trust your instincts.
  • Your ideas are valuable.
  • You are capable.
  • You are deserving.
You are deserving.
  • You are strong.
  • You make a difference.
  • Your words matter.
  • Your actions make a difference.
  • Your feelings matter.
  • You are a good friend.
  • You are kind.
  • You can change your mind.
  • You can learn from your mistakes.
You can learn from your mistakes.
  • I believe in you.
  • You are interesting.
  • You are valuable.
  • You are important.

Words of Encouragement When Students Are Working

  • You can do anything when you put your mind to it.
  • I’m excited to see you learn something new.
  • Keep up the good work—it shows.
Keep up the good work—it shows.
  • Look how your hard work has paid off.
  • Don’t be afraid to try something new.
  • Your ______ is improving because you are not giving up.
  • I can see your practice is paying off.
  • I appreciate your ______ [insert skill they are working on].
  • You are putting a lot of hard work into this project.
You are putting a lot of hard work into this project.
  • I noticed that you ______ [skill they are working on] better today than yesterday.
  • You are really giving this task your all. I’m impressed!
  • You are using your time really well.

Words of Encouragement for Students Who Are Struggling

  • Nobody is perfect, and that’s OK.
  • That was a hard assignment, but I know you can improve.
  • Everyone makes mistakes, but you can learn from them.
Everyone makes mistakes, but you can learn from them.
  • I believe in you.
  • I believe you can do ______.
  • I am happy you asked for help when you needed it.
  • Take a break if you need it, and then go back to it with fresh eyes.
  • Mistakes prove that you are trying.
  • If you need help, remember I am here for you.
  • I’m proud of how you handled this challenge.
  • Everyone feels overwhelmed at some point. It doesn’t mean you are weak or a failure.
Everyone feels overwhelmed at some point. It doesn’t mean you are weak or a failure.
  • I’m so proud of you for trying so hard.
  • No matter what happens, I’m proud of you.
  • You’ve made me think about ______ in a new way.

Words of Encouragement for Students Who Are Having a Bad Day

  • Your day might have been bad, but that is not a reflection of you.
  • Today was a tough day. Let’s make tomorrow better.
  • Even when you have a bad day, I still like you.
  • I’m here to help you.
  • You’re not alone in this.
  • We all have bad days. Tell me about yours.
We all have bad days. Tell me about yours.
  • You did a great job handling a really hard day.
  • If you tell me about your bad day, I can help you think about how to approach it in the future.
  • I understand what you are going through and I know you can do it.
  • Remember this is just one day out of your whole life.
  • Tomorrow things will look so much better.
  • Everyone has bad days, and it’s OK to feel that way.
Everyone has bad days, and it's OK to feel that way.
  • You can learn so much from making mistakes.
  • Whenever you have a bad day, know that I am here for you.
  • I am really proud of how you handled this difficult day.

Words of Encouragement for Older Students

  • You have a unique sense of style.
You have a unique sense of style.
  • You are quite wise and mature, even at your age.
  • You brought a positive change in my life.
  • ______ is the best thing about you.
  • Thanks for making me laugh!
  • You make me proud.
  • You have a strong and powerful voice.
  • You are a good leader.
You are a good leader.
  • You’re such an original! I love your ______.
  • Thank you for ______ [task they completed, fact they told you, etc.].
  • I really like that you ______. It shows me that you are [kind, capable, interested].
  • You are such an interesting person. I love that you ______.

Words of Encouragement Before a Competition, Test, or Performance

  • You will do amazingly well. Just keep going!
  • You’ve put in the work, now it’s time to apply it.
  • You are someone who does not give up.
  • Your effort is what’s important, not the grade at the end.
Your effort is what’s important, not the grade at the end.
  • You’ve got this.
  • No matter what happens, I’m proud of you.
  • Take a deep breath. You are prepared for this.
  • Take your time and do your best.
  • I know you’ll try your hardest.
  • You’ve worked really hard and are prepared for this.
  • A test score is a grade, it’s not who you are.
  • A game win is one game, it’s not who you are.
  • You are ready for this.
  • You’re part of a team. You’ll work together.
  • Get out there and show the other team what hard work looks like.
Get out there and show the other team what hard work looks like.
  • Your training is paying off.
  • You’re already a winner for your hard work.
  • I admire your determination.

Words of Encouragement for Students Who Are Facing a Problem

  • It may seem like there is no solution, but every solution was once someone’s problem.
  • You’re the only one who can decide how this story ends.
  • If a door of opportunity opens for you, you have to decide to go through it.
If a door of opportunity opens for you, you have to decide to go through it.
  • Making mistakes gets you closer to your goals.
  • Don’t let chance decide how you are going to achieve your goals. 
  • What you are capable of doing right now is much more than you may think.
  • If you make a mistake, it means you tried, and that’s more than many people can say.
  • Nobody can do everything they want to do, but right now, in this moment, you can do anything you want to do.
Nobody can do everything they want to do, but right now, in this moment, you can do anything you want to do.
  • Nobody is perfect. If you don’t like something you’ve done, delete it and move on.

Words of Encouragement To Inspire Kids

  • Keep coming up with those creative ideas of yours.
  • I love hearing about your ideas.
  • You are never afraid to try something new.
  • You are really improving at _____. That’s because you didn’t give up when it was tough.
  • You have a big imagination!
You have a big imagination!
  • I can’t wait to see what you come up with next.
  • I’d love to see your next [story, artwork].

More Words of Encouragement

  • You are a fabulous friend.
  • _____ is lucky to have you as a friend.
  • I can see how kind you are when you _____.
  • I notice that you always know the right thing to do, and you always follow through.
  • Anyone can be the same as everyone else. It is courageous to be yourself.
Anyone can be the same as everyone else. It is courageous to be yourself.
  • Don’t be embarrassed to stand out. That’s what makes you special.
  • I’ve seen how you approach problems. You always think them through. I’m sure you will make a good choice.
  • You can trust your instincts. You have a good sense of right and wrong.
  • You cannot control other people, but you can control how they make you feel.
  • Sometimes the most important thing is to be a good friend.
Sometimes the most important thing is to be a good friend.
  • Celebrate what makes you different—it’s what makes you you.
  • Don’t follow the crowd, lead it.
  • If everyone was the same, the world would be very boring.

Plus, get this 25 Things To Say Instead of “Good Job” poster.

What are your favorite words of encouragement for students? Come share in our We Are Teachers HELPLINE group!

Words of encouragement make all the difference to kids. Here are phrases you can use to encourage and inspire your students.

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