Positive Language

Diana Lang

a woman squatting down beside her child who is pointing
Figure 1. Communicating on a child’s level can remove stress from an otherwise concerning situation. (Photo Source: Taryn Elliott, Pexels License)

The manner in which parents communicate with their child can largely determine the child’s own communication methods and language development and can affect the child’s vocabulary and speaking skills over time.  Using positive language can greatly support and encourage the child as they get older. [1]

How to use this method:

  • Respond quickly and kindly to a child’s needs.
  • Provide a listening ear or advice even at inconvenient times.
  • Be responsive and consistent.
  • Use positive and encouraging words when speaking with a child.
  • Set a good example of how to talk to other people in public as well as at home by using manners and respect, such as saying “please,” “thank you,” and “I’m sorry.”
  • Avoid sarcasm or ill-willed teasing.
  • Use positive, communicative forms of guidance and avoid any form of violent discipline such as spanking.
  • Spend time alone with each child, even at a young age. Quality time coupled with open communication encourages the child to feel safe and comfortable with their parents and creates a reliable relationship. [2]


  • Peter and Dan’s mother always says, “Thank you for picking up your toys” after they put away the toys in their playroom.
  • Kaila returns home from school and says that she has had a bad day at school.  Kaila’s dad asks her what had made it a bad day and listens to Kaila explain what had happened.

Key Takeaway

  • Using phrases such as, “I’m sorry,” “please,” “thank you”, and “I love you” often for children of all ages are recommended!

  1. Feldman, H. M., (2019). The Importance of Language-Learning Environments to Child Language Outcomes. Pediatrics, 144(4). doi:10.1542/peds.2019-2157
  2. American Academy of Pediatrics. (2019). Showing Love for Your Child - Tips From the American Academy of Pediatrics. Retrieved from https://www.aap.org/en-us/about-the-aap/aap-press-room/news-features-and-safety-tips/Pages/Showing-Love-for-Your-Child-Tips-From-the-American-Academy-of-Pediatrics.aspx.


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