4 Phrases That Comfort Children When They Cry

If you're a parent, then you know how hard it can be for children to calm down when they're upset. Here are four phrases you can use to comfort children when they cry.
4 Phrases That Comfort Children When They Cry
Mara Amor López

Written and verified by the psychologist Mara Amor López.

Last update: 27 December, 2022

When children cry because they’re angry or sad, we need to empathize with them and show them that we understand what they’re experiencing. They need us to approve of and validate their emotions. In this article, we’re going to look at four phrases you can use to comfort children when they cry.

On many occasions, when our children cry, we tell them, “Don’t cry, it’s not that big of a deal!” Or “Stop crying!” But, although we do it with the best of intentions, what we’re doing is minimizing the importance and magnitude of their feelings.

Therefore, it’s important to use certain phrases that comfort and respect our child’s emotions. We need to give their emotions the value they have, especially for our own children. If you want to see some examples of phrases that you can use to comfort children when they cry, keep reading.

The importance of phrases that comfort children when they cry

First of all, when our child is crying, we have to know why they’re angry or sad. This way, it’ll be easier to understand their reaction.

All emotions, both in children and adults, are caused by a stimulus that generates a response in us, whether it’s a positive or negative emotion. But children aren’t able to stop and think about how to respond in a calm manner. They act directly with tantrums, crying, or slamming the door, and screaming.

We must accompany our children with our words and postures. This means getting down on their level, looking them in the eyes, without judging them, and letting them speak so that they can express what they’re feeling. In doing so, we’ll be validating their emotions, which are important to them.

Phrases that comfort children when they cry

A mother knealing down to comfort her crying daughter.

Avoid saying, “Don’t be a cry baby!” And instead, say, “If you’re scared, what do you need in order to stop being afraid?”

Sometimes, fear blocks us, and the overwhelming feeling causes us to cry, even as adults. When we feel this way, nobody enjoys being told, “Don’t be a cry baby!” Or “Don’t be a wimp!” And the same thing happens to children, they don’t like to be told those things either.

Fear in children leads them to cry inconsolably. It blocks them and even limits them. In those moments, we shouldn’t judge their reaction. Rather, the best action is to tell them, “I understand that you’re afraid. What can mom or dad do to help you to stop being afraid?”

Your little one should feel accompanied and understood, which will help them to relax.

Replace, “Don’t cry!” With, “I understand why you’re crying!”

In these moments, your child needs to be comforted and cared for. They don’t need to be told to stop crying when they’re feeling an emotion that has its own value.

Always try to understand them and help them feel better with your words. Give them the value that their emotions deserve, because it’s those big emotions they’re feeling that cause them to cry. If we understand them and accompany them, they’ll immediately feel better.

Avoid saying, “Don’t get so angry and stop crying, it’s no big deal!” And instead, say, “I see you’re angry, shall we talk about what’s going on?”

Just like everyone else, when we feel joy, we laugh, but if we feel angry or sad, we have the same right to cry. In short, they’re two equally valid emotions. If a child is angry and reacts by crying, they need us close to them, they need our love and our understanding. And by fulfilling this need, we’ll be validating their emotion.

We can say, “I see that you’re angry, do you want to talk about what’s happening?” With these phrases, we help them to identify their emotions and to recognize what they feel when they experience these emotions.

A little boy crying on his mothers lap.

Change the phrase, “It’s okay!” To, “I understand you feel this way, what can we do to make you feel better?”

All of us, when we lose someone or something precious, feel tremendously sad. And, in those moments, we need to be embraced and accompanied. The same thing happens to children, only that for them, the loss can be a teacher because they change grades, a favorite toy, a friend who moves to a new city, or a pet, for example.

In those moments, they feel a sense of enormous sadness and may burst into tears. That’s when we need to refrain from telling them that everything’s okay. On the contrary, we can say, “I understand that you’re sad because your friend’s moved to another city. Do you want to write them a letter? Then you can send letters to each other and stay in touch.”

About phrases that comfort children when they cry

These phrases to comfort children when they cry are very useful for certain moments in which, in the hopes of helping our children feel better, we often say the wrong things. Keep them in mind and when certain circumstances arise, put them into practice. You’ll see how much they help your children to feel better.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.