8 Essential Catch-Phrases for Children

These are great rules for any home – As a single parent, I feel the need to have some order and clear expectations of what I want and expect from the children. With 100% care of the children and working full time from home, these catch phrases help make each day smoother. Teaching children the right behaviours and attitudes at home lends to children who know how to behave better outside of the home.

Try implementing some of these catch phrases with your children:

  1. “No secrets. Only surprises.” No matter what happens in our home, we don’t keep secrets. If we are shopping and I purchase a birthday present for one child in the presence of another, it is essential that the present is a ‘surprise’ not a ‘secret’ and the children understand the difference. When the children ask an adult question, I ask them for time to consider an age-appropriate, honest response and I make sure that I do get back to them. This mantra also works with other children and adults – we don’t keep secrets and never should. They know that if and when someone says “don’t tell your mother” that they immediately tell me what they were told not to say.
  2. “Tall and strong.” In a small attempt to combat negative body image, we have replaced the word “big” for “tall.” Big has different meanings and connotations for different people. Children, in particular, quickly switch their understanding of big from being tall and older to fat. So, avoid the confusion by stating what you mean from the outset by using words the correctly reflect what you mean to say.
  3. “Bring on the boredom.” Great things bloom from a bored child. Most children rely upon their screens and digital items for entertainment. When they are removed, it’s almost like they have forgotten how to play. When a child pushes through the boredom, their creativity and imagination is activated and they have a wonderful time playing. When your children are in this state, do not interrupt them!
  4. “Be strong in the mind, not the fists.” When children don’t have the tools to express what they are feeling, they often resort to physical aggression. Lashing out isn’t an appropriate form of self-expression. Similarly, if someone else is nasty or hurts the child, instead of retaliating with the same bad behaviour, children are encouraged to exercise their mind, self-control and refrain for further engaging in the situation.
  5. “No answering the door at any time to anyone.” We have had a great safety concern with a known person to the children. As such, they are not allowed to open the door to anyone – even people they know. I consider this a reasonable rule for most homes to keep unwanted guests or visitors out.
  6. “It is better to be a giver than a taker.” Teach your children about the joy and art of giving without expecting something in return. The small acts of kindness, generosity and care could make a huge difference in someone’s day. Children need to make sure they are not taken for granted or their generosity abused.
  7. “Manners are a must.” Children learn and absorb instructions by watching how adults interact and treat others. On a daily basis, adults lead by example by demonstrating appropriate, respectful and mindful manners to other adults as well as to children. The follow on is that children will speak politely to other children and adults alike. So, remember your pleases, thank yous and graciousness.
  8. “You get what you get and you don’t get upset.” When there are limited number of flavours in a box of ice-blocks, this phrase is perfect. Every ice-block meets what the child wants (sugar!) albeit not their preferred flavour. So, when there are limited choices, you have to pick on the child’s behalf or they are given a present, this phrase reminds children to be grateful for what they are given.

They say that children are “house-devils and street-angels”. By instilling general life lessons at home and regularly practicing them, parents hope that when the time comes our children remember and rely upon what they have learned.


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