Help build up your children with compliments of who they are, not what they’ve done. When my son was a baby, we would praise him for good behavior and small accomplishments such as learning to walk, being polite and sharing. As my son grew and entered school and began to play sports, I can easily say I was proud of him for his hard work, achievements and performance. But we all know life isn’t all about what you do and what you have done.

As I look back at the moments that I cherish most, it’s the moments I witnessed that help build his character, such as his compassion, integrity and dignity. For an example, my 7 year old son took time and effort to encourage his 3 year old cousin to come into in the pool by continually boosting her confidence and telling her how brave she is. This melted my heart!

Here are 20 things to compliment your kids about that involve their character, not their achievements:

  1. When they stick up for a friend or sibling.
  2. When they boost someone’s confidence with praise.
  3. The first time they take time to teach a younger child something.
  4. When they lose with dignity.
  5. The first time they show compassion and put others first.
  6. When they try something new, even if the odds are against them.
  7. The first time they wholeheartedly forgive for something.
  8. Trying again and again, even after failing.
  9. When they first realize how important friendship is.
  10. The first time they accept rejection with grace and dignity.
  11. The first time they help someone who is hurt.
  12. When they learn to appreciate art.
  13. The first time they donate their own money to a cause.
  14. The first time they encourage a weaker team mate.
  15. When they make the best of a bad day on their own.
  16. When they are loving and kind to older relatives.
  17. When they know that they march to their own beat and they are proud of it.
  18. Hearing them give sincere advice to a younger sibling.
  19. The first time they find a moral issue with something and take a stand against it.
  20. The first time they bury their head into a book.