How to Praise Children with Purpose

“Good job!”


“I’m so proud”

I say it. You say it. We all say it.

And, there is nothing wrong with these phrases or for wanting to give praise for a job well done. But often, we mindlessly say them and they lose their meaning.

We need to figure out a way to praise our children with purpose. After all, as Christian parents, our goal is for our kids to become more Christ-like. So, how do we connect their positive behavior with encouraging phrases and comments that are filled with purpose and intent to make them more like Jesus?

I’m glad you asked. The purpose of this post is to help us use scripture to praise our children with purpose.

Praise your children with purpose

Use Spiritual Affirmations to Praise Our Children

We can affirm our children, while helping them grow in confidence, by repeating what God’s Word says about us. This does 2 things: 1) It gives glory back to God as our Creator. 2) It builds their identity in Christ and not selfish pride or the world’s version of worth.

For example, “Wow, _________, you played a great ball game today. God’s word says we are fearfully and wonderfully made. I’m thankful he made you strong and quick to do what you love.”

Another example, “Your report card was impressive. The Bible says that God gives wisdom and understanding. Let’s remember to praise Him for giving you a sharp mind and intelligence.”

When we praise them for a job well done, we should remind them who created them and gave them their gifts, talents, abilities, and purpose. By using God’s word, we give the opportunity for them to understand that they are using what has been generously bestowed upon them by their Heavenly Father to bring Him glory.

The following scriptures are some you can put in your arsenal as a basis for praising them using spiritual affirmations straight from God’s word.

Scriptures on Identity

  • So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. Genesis 1:27 NKJV
  • For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well. Psalm 139:13-14 NKJV
  • But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; 1 Peter 2:9 NKJV
  • Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him.  Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. 1 John 3:1-2 NKJV
  • You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Matthew 5:14 NKJV
  • For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:10 NKJV
Ephesians 2:10

Encourage for the Purpose of Godliness

We can encourage good behavior and deeds in our children for the purpose of godliness. When we see them doing something that is in line with God’s word and positively reflects Christ, we need to point it out quickly and intentionally so that this pattern is repeated. But, we also need to let them know why so that they do good works for God’s glory and not their own praise.

For example, “I love the way you had compassion on the little boy at the park who fell. Jesus calls us to love our neighbor as ourselves and you were a great example of that today.”

Or, “I know your sister was being mean to you today. I saw the way you let it pass. Jesus told us no to return evil for evil and to forgive others. I like how you put that into action.”

Most of these behaviors will be good deeds toward others or actions of integrity. This helps encourage them in obedience to the scriptures and a heart to do what is right in God’s eyes.

Scriptures to Encourage Godly Behavior

  • And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment. And the second, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:30-31 NKJV
  • I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, Matthew 5:44 NKJV
  • But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. Galatians 5:22 NKJV
  • Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.  “Honor your father and mother,” which is the first commandment with promise:  “that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth.” Ephesians 6:1-2 NKJV
  • Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:16 NKJV

Purpose of Praise and Encouragement to Children

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.  And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.

Colossians 3:16-17 NKJV

First, to us as parents, we are called to “let the word of Christ dwell in you richly .” This is for wisdom, teaching, and admonishing others. So, the purpose of us using scripture to train, teach, praise, and encourage our children is so we ourselves know and follow the scriptures.

Second, this text says that “whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus.” I know we want our children to shine the light of Christ in all they do. When they connect their good deeds back to good news of Jesus, we have produced image bearers of Christ who seek to reflect His nature in all they do.

Last, we are to be “giving thanks to the Father through Him.” When are children realize that all of their accomplishments, character, works, and success come from the good blessings of a Good Father, they will give thanks often for what He has done in and through them. Every blessing He pours out, let’s show them how to turn it back into praise to Him!

10 thoughts on “How to Praise Children with Purpose

  1. Love this Arrica! I just used one of your praise examples to send a text to our 10 year old grandson. His team won their basketball championship this morning. His mom tells us he played his best game today but we missed it! 😞 His dream is to be a professional basketball player. Here’s what I sent him:

    Wow, Hudson! You played a great ball game today and I’m so proud of you! 💙 I’m watching Remi today and Paw-Paw’s Jeep broke this morning and had to have it towed to the garage. He was on his way to your game. I’m sorry we missed your game. 😞 Your mom said it was your best game so far!! 😀

    I wanted to remind you that the Bible says we are fearfully and wonderfully made. I’m thankful God made you strong and quick and able to do what you love.

    Maybe one day you will get to be a professional basketball 🏀 player, or maybe you’ll do something else, but I want to remind you to do everything you can to honor the Lord in all that you do, no matter what, ok? If you remember to do this God will help you be the best you can be at whatever you do!

    I love you 💙

  2. Donna Miller

    Love this Arrica! I love these purposeful ways to build up our children in the LORD. Very edifying post this morning … 💕

  3. staceypardoe

    This is just what I needed, Arrica! It’s easy to fall into the habit of being critical of our kids…..or offering very generic praise! This will bless our whole family!

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