Helpful Catch Phrases for Guiding Independence for Children Ages 2 – 6 years

Helpful Catchphrases for Parents

Pause and ask yourself:

What’s the big picture?
Is my request necessary?
What needs are unmet?
How can we connect?
Then, you can say…

Praise and Accomplishment

Wow, you’re really proud of yourself!
I see you.
How do you feel now that you’ve ….?
I noticed all that work you did and now …. is finished!
You had a problem and you figured it out.
You did…with the… (you drew that picture with the felt pens).

Safety and Redirection

It’s my job to keep you safe.
I need you to walk inside, you may run outside.
You sound… (frustrated) you wish that you could… (stay and play).
You can do it yourself, we can do it together, or I can do it for you.
I need to hold your hand when we cross the street.
You’re having a hard time listening so I’m going to move your body away.
If you want to… (yell, bite, jump) you can… (go outside, bite a pillow, jump on the trampoline).


I know you want the answer to be different.
I know it’s hard to… (wait for dinner, write your name, climb the playgym).
You’re letting me know you are done.
I can see you have some really strong feelings about that.
Do you need to cry some more or are you finished?
You’re upset, your can go to your room if you need some time. I am here when you’re ready.
Wow that was difficult. You seem ( sad, frustrated, tired, angry)


May I help you?
Would you like me to move this closer to you?
Would you like to sing with me today?
How would you like your egg cooked?
Would you like me to pick you up?

Offer Real Choices

Do you want to walk to the car yourself, or shall I carry you?
Will you be wearing the red or blue shoes today?
Which vegetable would you like for dinner, carrots or green beans?

Offer as little help as possible

Where…. can you look for that?
What…. else might work?
Who… could you talk to at lunch?
When… did you see it last?
How… will you solve this problem?

Observations, Feelings, Needs, and Requests

I am feeling irritated that the toys are here on the floor and not back on the shelf. I need the floor clean so we can be safe. Can you take care of your things now, or in 10 minutes?
Wow that was difficult. You seem (sad, frustrated, angry) that you can’t pick up the pea with your fork. Would you like some help?

More Resources

Positive Discipline for parents
Non-violent Communication
“Gentling the Violence” technique
“Sportscasting” technique for toddlers

All Rights Reserved 2018
May be shared for educational purposes with credit and links to The Prepared Environment.

— admin