That’s a girl. That’s a boy. Atta girl. Atta boy. (Atta is a slang way of saying “That’s a”)
I’m so proud of you
Way to go!
That’s a great coloring job. That’s a great job of coloring.
You did great.
You were great.
“What a neat outfit!” = you’re dressed nicely
You’re a peach.
You’re the best.
You’re my everything.
What a champ!
23. Parents finding out what’s wrong and giving reassurance
There, there. (This is meaningless, but very often said over and over, for example while you’re holding a young child and patting them gently to reassure them.)
Upsadaisy (said while helping a child back up after a fall or tumble, or also lifting them out of a crib, etc)
What’s the matter?
Why are you crying?
Is something wrong?
Is something bothering you?
Is there something you want to talk about?
Do you have anything to tell me?
You can talk to me about anything.
Mommy’s right here.
It’s all over now.
There’s no need to worry.
Mommy and Daddy won’t let anything bad happen to you.
We’re right in the next room.
There’s nothing to be scared of.
It was just a nightmare. Nightmares aren’t real. They’re like playing pretend.
Everyone has nightmares. Mommy and Daddy have them sometimes too.
I know it must have been scary, but it’s all over now.
Are you feeling better now?
Do you want Mommy to stay here for a while?
What did he/she do to you? (Usually referring to a playmate that was being too rough.)
There’s nothing wrong with crying.
Some parents say the following when they think the child is being overly fearful: “Don’t be a sissy / fraidy-cat / scaredy-cat.” All these words mean someone who’s overly scared of things. Children will also use them to describe other children (usually not very nice.)
Don’t interrupt Daddy/Mommy.
Don’t bother me while I’m on the phone.
Don’t call people names.
No whispering. (Many parents won’t allow this when others are present.)
Say please. If I can’t hear you, it’s because you didn’t say please. (A way of saying that you will ignore any requests that don’t include the word “please”.)
I expect you to behave nicely while you’re visiting your friend.
Tell John you’re sorry you hit him.
Are you going to apologize?
You don ‘t sound very sorry.
Say it like you mean it.
(Note: “I’m sorry” means you regret something, but it could be your fault, or it could be someone else’s fault and you’re just expressing sympathy. “I apologize” always means you’re at fault and you regret it now. “Excuse me.” usually is said when you just want to get past someone who’s standing in your way, or if you have to leave the table, etc.)
That was not a nice thing to do.
You need to share your toys with your sister.
You need to take turns playing with that.
He had that toy first.
This toy doesn’t belong to you.
Don’t stick your fingers in someone else’s eyes. You could hurt them.
Don’t step on my feet.
Cover your mouth when you cough.
Don’t cough in someone else’s face.
If you dumped out all those blocks, you need to pick them up.
Please don’t leave toys in the hall; people might trip on them.
I know you don’t like her shirt, but it’s not nice to tell her that.
Lucy can’t help it that she doesn’t have a mother/father. Don’t talk about it around her.
25. Discipline (please note- I’m just reporting what parents say here in the US, not saying that these are necessarily good things to say to your own child!)
timeout = the child is sent to a specified place like a corner or bathroom for a period of time which is usually one minute for each year of age for toddlers, as a punishment or with the idea of calming down and thinking over what they’ve been doing wrong
go stand in the corner – another traditional method of discipline
to talk back – often used, referring to when a child argues aggressively with a parent when being disciplined, instead of obeying or listening
For parents who are in the mood to be reasonable:
“What are you doing?”
"Stop doing that."
“What have you been up to here?”
“Maybe you need to think about this a bit.” (Implying: you did something wrong, and you haven’t shown me yet that you understand this.)
“We need to discuss this.” (A nice alternative to scolding.)
“This is not acceptable.”
“I thought you were a big boy/girl now.”
“Stop giving me a hard time.”
“Could you cooperate a little?”
“We don't have time for games like this.”
“We don't do things like that in this house.”
“Good/Polite boys don't do/say things like that!”
“Did you do that on purpose?” (Very common question adults ask, meaning, you did something wrong, but was it intentional or by accident.)
“It was by accident!” (The child defends himself, saying that it wasn’t intentional.)
“Tell me what really happened.”
“Was that a nice thing to do?”
“I’m disappointed in your behavior.”
“You are part of a family, and you can’t think only about yourself.”
“I don’t want to hear your stories.” (This means, don’t invent excuses or tell lies.)
More definitive statements:
“You need to go to bed, period.” ("Period" is just a colloquial way of saying it's a final decision.)
“Don't argue with me about this.”
“No more discussion, you're going to bed now.”
“Don't argue with me.”
“Stop playing games.”
“Stop clowning around.”
“Stop messing around.” = stop wasting time, we need to get going
“Settle down” (i.e., stop making too much noise, running in the house, etc)
“Could you keep it down?” = could you make less noise
“I’m going to count to three, and if you don’t have the toys picked up by then....”
“Stop making excuses and start cleaning up.”
“No more of your stories. You need to go to bed now.”
“Why? Because I said so. You don't need another reason.”
“You do as I say.”
“You know that when I say it's bedtime, I'm not going to change my mind.”
“If I say something, don't go to your father and expect him to say something different.”
“That's not the tone of voice to use with your mother.”
“You don't talk like that to Mommy!”
“Don’t raise your voice at me!”
“Don’t talk to me in that tone of voice!”
“Don't raise your voice at me!”
(I wouldn't say "Shut up!" to a child; it's usually a rather rude thing to say.)
“That's a rude way to speak!”
“Be quiet!” / “Hush up!” (not very friendly but parents often say it)
“You don't have to shout; I'm not deaf.”
For parents who want to express more displeasure:
“What on earth are you doing?”
"Don't do that!"
"Don't act like that!”
“Stop acting like that!”
“Stop acting up!”
“That's no way to behave!”
“That was a very rude thing to do/say!”
“Do it right away, or else...” (a sort of implied threat that many parents use)
“That’s it! That’s the limit!”
“I’ve just about had it with you!” (This is very strong; I’ve heard parents use it but I’m not recommending it myself.)
“You’ve crossed the line.”
“Don’t lie to me/ to your mother! Don’t tell lies!”
“If I catch you doing that again, I’ll be very upset with you.”
“We’re not going to stand for this type of behavior.”
“I don’t care who started it.”
“You had it coming to you.” (Meaning, you kept doing something wrong until you finally caused something bad to happen.)
“You deserved that.”
“Now you know what it feels like.” (People use this when one child has been pestering another, and the other children finally has enough and does something back.)
“How many times do I have to tell you?”
“You’re being obnoxious.”
“I told you over and over not to do that!”
“You’ve made such a big mess.”
“Because I said so!” (Classic response of a parent to a child who says “Why do I have to do that?”)
“You’re in timeout.”
“Go stand in the corner.”
“Enough! / Stop it! / Cut it out! / Knock it off! ” = stop what you’re doing at once
“Don’t talk back to me!” = don’t say no when I say yes
“Go in timeout!”
“Your behavior has been awful/horrible.”
“What a disgrace!” (Personally, I don’t like this line.)