When complimenting your child, do you typically focus on their appearances?

“You look so pretty.”

“What a handsome boy”

“Such a sweet smile.”

If compliments are usually focused on appearance rather than abilities, talents, or other qualities, children may internalise that their worth is solely based on appearance. This can contribute to a feeling of helplessness, resulting in lower self-esteem.

Our goal should be to help them learn to value themselves for who they are rather than solely based on their physical appearance. If we focus on their character and actions rather than their appearance, we can help them to build their self-worth.

This is doable. It only takes a little mindset shift and practice to form the habit.

Help your child’s confidence soar with these 15 compliments that don’t rely on their appearance:

  1. You’re such a good listener.
  2. Thank you for being you.
  3. You lead others without being bossy.
  4. You’re a thoughtful friend.
  5. I admire your confidence.
  6. I love spending time with you.
  7. You have great ideas.
  8. That was so kind.
  9. Your passion is contagious.
  10. You make me smile.
  11. You make others feel welcome.
  12. I enjoy listening to your stories.
  13. I like how focused you are!
  14. I admire how you didn’t give up and tried again.
  15. You’re improving so much! Your hard work is paying off!

Here are four tips to ensure these compliments sink in:

  1. Compliment with unconditional love. Don’t add “buts”. 
  2. Be sincere. Children can tell if you’re faking it.
  3. Focus on what they can control or their actions.
  4. Model saying “thank you” when you receive a compliment.

A compliment on abilities, talents, or other qualities, rather than a child’s looks, builds their self-esteem and teaches them what matters most is who they are.

What other non-appearance compliments do you give to your child?