11 Phrases to Tell Your Children When They're Crying

Whenever your children cry, try to understand them and their emotions. Use these phrases to assess the situation and make your children feel better.
11 Phrases to Tell Your Children When They're Crying
María José Roldán

Written and verified by the psychopedagogue María José Roldán.

Last update: 27 December, 2022

It’s no secret that listening to our children crying makes us feel uncomfortable. Just think about how anxious it makes you when you see your children crying for no obvious reason. Even though we know that babies communicate by crying, we still think we have to fix that, as if crying was actually wrong. This is why we’ll give you some phrases to tell your children when they’re crying.

Once babies start walking and talking, we expect them to communicate the way we do, instead of the way they’re used to do it: crying.

In fact, certain studies have shown that our brains are programmed to react instantly when we hear children crying. This makes us more attentive and ready to help them and act fast.

Actually, a crying baby puts us on alert to fight or run away. It also raises our heartbeat and makes us act, even if the child isn’t ours. It seems as if we must react upon a crying baby. But, how?

Girl crying.

A crying baby isn’t always sad: phrases to tell your children

Many children cry not only when they’re sad, but also to express any emotion they may feel. They may cry in anger, frustration, fear, emotion, confusion, anxiety or even happiness.

Besides, in some cases, children aren’t able to talk or to understand their own emotions yet. This means that asking them what’s wrong will hardly lead us to a reasonable answer.

Saying, “Don’t cry!” Makes life harder

Even though you may think that putting an end to their tears will prevent you and your children from suffering, when you say, “Don’t cry!” They think you don’t understand how they feel. As a result, your message may become stronger and persistent.

When asking them to stop crying, you’re telling them that their emotions aren’t valid or important. No matter what you really think about that particular situation, your inability to acknowledge their feelings makes you lose an opportunity to learn from and process that emotion in a positive way.

Even if it sounds difficult, our goal as parents is to help our children regulate their emotions. And, we can do this only by treating them with empathy and understanding.

Don’t distract your children when they’re crying

Parents usually want to distract their children when they’re crying. We think that if we manage to make them stop crying, the problem will disappear. However, distraction makes you lose an opportunity to connect with them and to teach them to process their emotions.

What should you say instead? Eleven phrases to tell your children when they’re crying

Next time you see children crying, try to take a moment to make sure they’re all right. If they’re angry, stressed or frustrated, the things you say might make them feel worst.

Phrases to tell your children.

Take a breath or two, identify their feelings, focus on what’s happening inside their bodies (their heart might be accelerated, they might be pressing their teeth or feeling really tense). And, when you’re ready, tell your children the following phrases:

  1. “We’re in the same team, I’ll help you get better”.
  2. “I can see this is hard for you”.
  3. “I understand that you’re sad (disappointed, scared, anxious, happy…) and that’s all right”.
  4. “We’ve all felt like this sometimes, it’s perfectly normal”.
  5. “Let’s take a break”.
  6. “This has been really sad, frustrating or disappointing, right?”
  7. “I love you, you’re with me, you’ll be all right”.
  8. “Do you need some help to try it again?”
  9. “Do you need to rest in order to try it again later?”
  10. I can see that you’re crying, but I don’t know what you need. Can you help me understand?”
  11. “Let’s find a solution together”.

In addition, remember to stay calm and give your children some space while they’re crying, if that’s what they need. Be empathic and strong, so they know you’ll be there when they need you.

In the end, all parents want to help their children develop skills that can help them solve problems. Finding a solution that would help them process their emotions will teach them to see things more objectively and find a solution to their problems. 

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • https://www.theguardian.com/science/2012/oct/17/crying-babies-hard-ignore

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