Day 8: Teaching Our Kids to Encourage

I don't know, maybe it's the eternal optimist in me, but I really like to root for the underdog. Like, really. And while we're at it, if we're watching a football game and I'm not rooting for a specific team? I secretly always cheer for the offense.

You read that right. I cheer for both teams. I know that someone has to win, but TV folks are so good at pulling me us in! The Olympics? Don't even get me started. Mr. Kuda just knows that there will be two weeks of me sitting in front of the TV with a tissue box. I get invested.

But I digress.

I'd like to think this as a positive personality trait of mine, but the older I get, I'm starting to see that, good or bad, it just isn't the norm. It breaks my heart to see more and more stories about bullies, about adults making fun of others, and everyone looking out for their own gain. It can be disheartening to think about how we brought our kids into this pessimistic messed up world of negativity and ugliness.

Now, if parenthood was a marathon, I'm well aware that I'm pretty much just finishing up my first mile. However. I do know what I want for my kids as they get older. And that's kindness, to love Jesus, and to cheer others on.

Encouragement. If I'm going to write on it for 31 days, I should at least attempt to describe some of the things we're doing at home to teach our children what it means to root for the other team. Even if they're not rooting for us.

Since moving into our "forever home," family members who have stowed away my childhood belongings for sixteen a few years finally had the chance to load off the remaining boxes. It's been fun, going through all of the stuff I had saved in high school and college. A lot of it I threw away, but the kids clung onto this one thing, and I just haven't had the heart to throw it away.

A pom pom.

So seemingly innocuous, but something that really started the encouragement train in this house. There's something innate in these kiddos that makes them want to cheer others on. So I ran with it. I think it's important to note that, of course we encourage our kids every day: you went potty! You put on your shoes! You ate all your dinner! My focus here is to take it to the next level... Out of our front door and into the community.

Being a cheerleader yourself teaches them to be cheerleaders.
When they dance? We go full on "Go mommy! Go mommy!" It's contagious. But they won't know how if you don't start. Be their cheerleader, and they'll cheer on others. And that being said...

Be someone else's cheerleader.
Even if they're strangers. The thing about it is, that unless we show our kids what we're trying to teach them, it just won't stick. This works really well at the playground. I may look silly, but my kids don't see it that way. Cheer other kids on. Tell them they're fast or daring. Even if it doesn't occur to your kiddos in the moment, it will catch on.

Use words they understand while encouraging.
I stole this from Sesame Street. Elmo likes to start his sentences with, "I like the way you... " Miss E, I like the way you shared with your brother. Mr. C, I like the way you waited your turn. We've been using this language for some time, but we're starting to see the fruits of it. Every so often, I'll catch Miss E telling her brother, "I love the way you just smiled at me, buddy!" It's heart warming.

Attach emotions with encouraging words.
"Miss E, when you told Mr. C how much you enjoyed his smile, it made his heart so happy!" There's an organic sincerity to the way we talk about our feelings and the encouraging words that go along with them. It's empowering to even the two year old. He beams when he hears these things.

That's just a start, and I want to be clear about one things before I close: not all things are rainbows and sunshine in our house. I make mistakes, Mr. Kuda makes mistakes, and the kiddos make mistakes. Thank goodness! But you've got to start as you mean to go on, and I think we've started something good.

What do you do to encourage your kids to, well, encourage? What has worked? What hasn't? I'd love some suggestions! In the meantime, grab a pom pom and go root someone on :)

xoxo, k.


  1. "Cheers" for you. Wonderful progression going on here!

  2. Oh I love this! I was just resharing a story yesterday about a time that I did something so small, but it impacted my daughter much more than I could have hoped! It was back when she was in Middle school - with all its' angst and awkwardness, and I told a stranger in a parking lot that she was having a seriously Great Hair Day! ("Mom... do you know her?" she asked slightly embarassed. To which I replied, "Nope - but come on - she IS having a great hair day! Everyone can see it - but how many people have told her so?" - or something close to that!) We have made it our goal to Speak Life... to state the positive, to encourage as a way of life and our girlie is all grown up now and wouldn't you know it? Encouragement just naturally oozes out of her! You are doing a good job... may it catch on all over! Stopping by from our fb 31Dayers group! So glad I did!

    1. Karrilee, I absolutely love that story. You and I would get along famously. And what a blessing to your daughter. Even if she was a little embarrassed, it clearly stuck with her :) So thrilled you stopped by!

  3. Hey! Found you from my blog and 31 Days! I love your topic! I'm with ya friend! Encourage One Another is one of the best commands. I want my kiddos to be "builder uppers" of people!

    1. Hey Amanda! I'm so happy you stopped by :) I love the phrase "builder uppers." Totally using that with the kiddos! Loving your topic, too. I'm looking forward to reading more this month!


Blog Template By Designer Blogs