Want to be a better parent? It turns out, that encouraging your kids to use a trinity of common phrases can help them build persuasiveness, gratitude, and confidence. The phrases are ones you probably already encourage them to say - “please,” “thank you,” and “you’re welcome” - but research shows that the example you set is probably the number one factor in determining if your kids will use them habitually as well.
Science says using these three phrases constantly may help you raise successful kids:
- “Please” - the key to persuasion. This magic word is not only polite, it helps kids become more persuasive. One study finds that suggestions phrased using polite language were more likely to be considered smart and persuasive than impolite language, even when the underlying messages were the same. And kids already seem to know when to throw in a “please” to make their argument more persuasive, like when they say, “Mommy can I stay up a half-hour later? Please?”
- “Thank you” - the key to gratitude. Beyond basic politeness, science has repeatedly shown that learning to be thankful and expressing gratitude can lead to happiness and success later in life. In one study, researchers divided participants into two groups: one was asked to write about things they were grateful for each week and the other group was asked to write about things that irritated or annoyed them. After 10 weeks, the gratitude group felt more optimistic and better about life than the annoyance group. So, getting your kids in the habit of saying “thank you” is the first baby step toward a lifelong habit of gratitude.
- “You’re welcome” - the key to confidence. Saying “you’re welcome” acknowledges that you’ve done something worthy of someone’s gratitude, making it a small confidence builder. Unfortunately, it’s commonly replaced with phrases like “no problem” or “no worries,” which just don’t convey the same sentiment. So, encourage your kiddos to use these underrated words and you could be boosting their chance at future success.
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