Kids are inundated with a lot of instructions. We have three phrases that sum up what we ask of our kids in terms of character. It’s important to get to a child’s heart and win them over for the behaviors you want. When you see them stray in their behavior, you can point them back on track by asking if their actions fit in this 3-part family motto. If you are interested in more catchy family phrases, here are some other mom phrases that really work. As I am raising my kids, I like to keep the far future in mind. What do I want my child to look like as a teenager? As an adult? As an employee? As a spouse? As a productive and positive member of society? It is important to teach these things when they are young. Young kids do well with simple, repeatable instructions that lead them toward the behavior and integrity you wish to see. When they’re little it’s hard to know when to discipline and when to gently correct and teach. In deciding, it’s important to determine whether you are dealing with willful disobedience or childhood irresponsibility. Some actions will require a re-direct with simple reminders like the phrases I am suggesting today. Other behaviors need to have consequences that make sense and further instruction in obedience. Even if you determine they need consequences, these expressions today will help remind kids how they’ve strayed from what you want to see in them.

Three Phrases that Sum Up What We Ask of Our Kids

“Loving Hands. Loving Words. Loving Actions.” These are the three simple sayings that can be repeated to your child. So much of the behavior our children struggle with stems from these three ideas.

Loving Hands

This phrase is especially good with small kids, but it is also important to establish in older kids. It can further be a good reminder of the kind of physical touch that is acceptable. I like to ask for the behavior I want rather than focusing on what I don’t want them to do. When those little hands go to hit for the first time, I want to be right there. The child has not been taught yet, so it’s time to instruct. I take their hand and say, “We have loving hands.” I then show with my own hands a loving touch by cupping their cheek. I’ll even gently take their hand up to my face and repeat, “Loving hands.” I might need to do this a number of times before they get it. When they are older there might be deliberate disobedience. I remind them, “We have loving hands.” Since they have already been taught this, I realize I have to follow with a consequence. “Loving hands” is a wonderful way to talk about inappropriate physical touch. Remind them that loving hands don’t make someone else feel hurt, weird or uncomfortable. If they are ever in a situation where a touch is unloving or makes them feel uneasy…if ever they are touched where their bathing suit covers…they are to seek help from a trusted adult.

Loving Words

Words can be just as harmful as actions. We want our kids to check themselves, making sure their words fill buckets and breathe life. Here is a fun object lesson you can do with your kids about the importance of kind words. In our family, many of the unkind words appear amid sibling relationships. When we hear it, we have our kids say three nice things to attempt to override the 1 hurtful thing that was said. It’s important to teach empathy by asking your child, “How would you feel if someone said that to you?” This helps them reflect on the words coming out of their mouths. If words continue to be unloving, remember that they will eventually want something from you.
  • “Mom, can I go to Jake’s house?”
  • “Oh, man. I’m sorry. I would love to let you go. However, your words have been so unkind to your brother lately that I just don’t quite trust you will make the right decision with your words at Jake’s house. Let’s get that in order, and then we can get some of those kind of privileges back.”
You can watch this Facebook Live on that general concept.

Loving Actions

The final category is loving actions. Is grabbing something out of someone’s hand loving? Is always wanting to be first loving? Should you knock over your sibling’s LEGO creations? Is it loving to the world to throw garbage on the ground? All of these situations fall into the “loving actions” category. This is another good time to teach empathy with, “How would you feel if…?” It appeals to their heart.

Loving Hands. Loving Words. Loving Actions.

These are three phrases that sum up what we ask of our kids in terms of character. In a world filled with a lot of ugliness, will you join me in raising up kids who do it differently? We want our kids to make a positive difference – being leaders who are willing to listen to others, respect others and take responsibility for their own action. Let’s raise a more loving future generation.

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