Powerful phrases you can use to comfort a child who is upset.
Being a child is hard work, and finding ways to comfort an upset child can be a difficult task but next time you come across this situation you’ll have some phrases in your pocket.
The world around a child is so vast and confusing. While it seems like “little things” are making our children cry and whine, these are not little things to them. In fact, these “little” things can seem like really large things and when we dismiss their feelings about little things, they will learn that their feelings don’t matter.
Kids do not have the mental capacity to understand the scale of a problem, which is why sometimes when you give a toddler a blue cup instead of the red one a child’s emotions explode.
As great as it is to have some tools in your back pocket for preventing big emotions (big emotions), we as parents still need tools to help us calm our upset kids down, and my favorite tools use positive parenting.
This parenting thing should have come with a manual!
See also: 17 Positive Discipline Tools You Need
Comforting Phrases To Calm Down Your Crying Child
- I’m Listening
- I Can Tell This Is Hard For You
- It Is Ok To Be Sad
- Let’s Work This Out Together
- If You Want To Be Alone, That Is Ok. I’ll Be Right Here When you’re Ready To Talk
- That was A Scary Situation! Are You Ok?
- I Hear You
- It Doesn’t Seem Fair
- Can You Tell Me About It?
- I’m Here For You
- I Love You, You Are Safe
- Can You Help Me Understand Why You Are Crying?
- *Silence While Hugging Child*
Phrase: I’m Listening
Why it works: You are connecting with your child by being present while they have their big feelings and providing an ear.
Sometimes children need to talk about it; they may not need further guidance.
Saying “I’m Listening,” tells them that your ears are open and ready for them to tell you their issue.
Phrase: I Can Tell This Is Hard For You
Why it works: You are providing a sympathetic feeling toward your child and are opening lines of communication to start a conversation.
A simple saying that you can tell this is a problematic situation can open up their heart and let everything spill out.
This is a great way to create those secure connections during this tough time and help your child figure out how to deal with their emotions.
Phrase: It’s Ok To Be Sad
Why it works: You are noticing their sadness, and you are reassuring that it is ok to feel the feelings.
Sometimes there is nothing you can do but be sad, especially if the situation involves the death of a loved pet, a good friend, or a family member. Provide your child with proper coping tools when it comes to dealing with death.
Phrase: Let’s Work This Out Together
Why it works: You are being there for your child and showing your eagerness to solve the problem.
Sometimes children just need some guidance in the right direction, and here you are providing that guidance to them.
Phrase: If You Want To Be Alone, That Is Ok. I’ll Be Right Here When you’re Ready To Talk
Why it works: You are giving your child the space that they are asking for and really need in that moment of sadness, but you are also saying that you are not far away when they are ready to talk.
Sometimes children don’t know that they need to talk about their feelings to process them, but just knowing that you are right there if they need you can help them open up about their situation.
Phrase: That Was A Scary Situation, Are You Ok?
Why it works: You understand that the child went through something and you are opening the lines of communication by asking if they are ok.
Sometimes a simple question such as “Are You Ok” can lead to a much bigger conversation. And sometimes it won’t. It all depends on the child and your relationship.
Phrase: I Hear You
Why it works: This simple phrase tells your child that you are there for support if they need it.
Saying these simple words reassures them that you are empathetic and sympathetic to the situation, and you wish there was something you could do to help.
Phrase: It Doesn’t Seem Fair
Why it works: Sometimes life is not fair, and children won’t be able to understand their situations.
If there is nothing you can do about the situation, you can be sympathetic to their feelings and let them know that you understand that this was not a fair situation.
Being there for them will help them process this unfair moment.
Phrase: Can You Tell Me About It?
Why it works: Showing you care is all you need to start those conversations, and a great conversation starter is simply “ Can You Tell Me About It.”
Something so simple can open up lines of communication in everyday situations. It is also a great way to promote anger management in early childhood.
Phrase: I’m Here For You
Why it works: Just as “I Hear You” tell your child that you are there for support, “I’m Here For You” reaffirms that feeling.
Telling your child that you are here is just as important as actually being there when it comes to keeping your child calm. They need to learn emotional intelligence but only when emotions are stable and happy times are here again.
Phrase: I Love You, You Are Safe
Why it works: This is a very simple way to tell your younger kids that they are in a safe place when they have strong emotions.
Even if they know your home is a safe haven and you are a wonderful parent who is always there for them…just hearing those words of reassurance of safety can help a child cope with their difficult emotions.
Phrase: Can You Help Me Understand Why You Are Crying?
Why it works: Even if your child is young and has a difficult time relaying their reason for sadness, it is never too early to start those conversations of feeling.
Having your child being able to say why they are feeling the way they are, will help them process feeling better, and help you understand their feelings better as well so you can provide proper guidance in dealing with the situation.
You can use open-ended questions to get through some of those intense emotions, as long as the child feels like they are in a safe environment with emotional support they are not likely to have a power struggle and are more likely to open up and talk to you.
Phrase: *Silence While Hugging Child*
Why it works: Sometimes you don’t need any words to connect with your child.
A good hug with some silence says a lot to children about their relationship with you. It’s amazing really how you can heal a child’s feelings with a simple hug and even some deep breaths.
With a silent hug, you are creating a whole environment of love, sympathy, and comfort. And honestly, sometimes a simple, good hug is all they really need.
Why The Phrase “Don’t Cry” Fails To Soothe A Crying Child
Have you ever had your partner/spouse tell you to “calm down” when you’re in a temper tantrum?
Doesn’t that just add some fuel to the already raging fire inside of you? It does for me!
The very same effect happens on children when we use the phrase “Don’t Cry” when trying to soothe a child.
When children cry, they are letting out emotions. These emotions need to be processed in a healthy way and understood by our little growing humans.
It is essential for our kids to feel all the feelings that they have so that they learn how to handle them properly, especially when the scale of these problems increases in teenage years.
Sometimes children cry because they simply forget to use their words. Some young kids who are just learning to speak, often just need some help to say the problem out loud.
Sometimes, the problem is that they don’t remember or simply know how to tell you. Encouraging your children to communicate these hard feelings is going to be the best thing.
Saying words like “Don’t Cry” in the heat of the moment will not help your child tell you the problem if they have forgotten how to say what they want to say.
When you tell your child that they need to stop crying, you are immediately pushing their feels aside and disregarding their need to process their own feelings.
What Happens When You Comfort A Crying Child
Encourages Children To Feel Emotions
When you use “stopping” phrases such as “Don’t Cry,” you are telling your child that their emotions don’t really matter, and they need to shut down and “Be Ok.”
As much as we want our children just to stop crying to prevent our Mommy hearts from hurting… it is not the right way to handle the situation.
Little people have big feelings, and those feelings are essential…All.The.Feelings.
From Crying to Happiness to Extreme Crankiness.
These feelings need to happen, and they need to be processed. As sad as it is to hear our little ones be sad, we have to let them feel those feelings. Even if their actions make us angry, we need to remain calm.
If you can acknowledge the feeling and be empathetic, you can teach your child how to process these feelings more positively.
Provides The Teachable Moment
It is our job as parents to provide support and guidance (tools I learned from this positive parenting course) to our children, and that includes the tough moments when you may not know what to say.
Saying phrases such as “Stop Crying” will not provide that moment of empathy and understanding that children need from their parents.
They need to process those feelings and learn from them too.
Perhaps there is a lesson in handling that situation to prevent hurt feelings from happening in the future, or the experience lies in “this is life,” and things happen, but we still need to process this properly.
These teachable moments are essential to create strong connections that form strong bonds between children and parents.
When you say phrases such as “Don’t Cry,” you are missing out on some good relationship-building moments.
The Most Powerful Phrases To Comfort An Upset Child Bottom Line
When my children are having a hard time and start crying, my initial instinct is to provide comfort.
I do not intend to raise selfish, entitled and lazy kids, and providing them with comfort when they are crying might make you say those are my intentions. I can assure you they are not.
I genuinely believe that comforting them in tough moments is vital to their emotional and psychological development. It also helps reduce angry outbursts and negative feelings of self if an adult is there with a big hug and understanding.
Children cannot just stop crying on demand. It is as impossible as “Calming Down” when our spouses tell us to do so. Using calm down tools such as breathing exercises and calm down corners are great ways to help your children calm down.
I hope these tools of communication will help you through moments of sadness and help you create those strong parental bonds that last forever.
Free Resource For You
I’ve created a free pdf just for you! If you are struggling with gentle parenting with your kids this PDF will help you find one that will work for your family.
This free pdf can show you:
- The pillars of gentle parenting
- Example conversations you can have with kids
- Example consequences you can use
- Family activity ideas for connection