Every year, we celebrate Incredible Kid Day on the third Thursday in March.
This year, Incredible Kid Day – or Absolutely Incredible Kid Day, as it’s properly called – comes on March 21st.
Founded in 1997, the purpose of Absolutely Incredible Kid Day is simple: tell the kids in your life what makes them incredible.
This day started so adults don’t make the mistake of assuming the kids in their lives know how much they love and appreciate them. You may remind your kid that every day, but just in case, take this day to make one hundred percent sure your kid – or any kid in your life – knows how absolutely incredible you think they are.
Words of praise from adults they love mean everything to kids. To read how and why praise is important for kids to hear, read this article and this article. The first gives you a psychologist’s take on the function of praise in a kid’s life, and the second contains advice from a different psychologist about two types of praise that are healthy and effective.
Kids with Mental Health Disorders
This year, we want you to pay attention to kids diagnosed with and receiving treatment for emotional, behavioral, conduct, and/or alcohol/substance use disorders. These kids face challenges that are difficult to overcome for anyone. The fact they’re facing them at such a young age makes them even more absolutely incredible.
Heres’ what you can tell them:
- You are brave.
- You are strong.
- I admire you.
- You got this.
- I have your back.
You don’t have to stop there. You can make a list of things about them you think make them amazing – and that list can go on as long as you like. Wake your kid up in the morning and tell them first thing. You can write your praise on post-it notes and plaster them around the house. Or you can text them during the day. A bunch. With each text praising them in a new way. Or you can post your praise all over all their favorite social media platform. Don’t be embarrassed about embarrassing them: just do it. And don’t worry – if their friends don’t know about their diagnosis, you can keep your public praise generic, and save the specific praise for home.
We’ve Got Adjectives
If you run out of words to praise your kid, here’s a list to help you:
Brilliant, spectacular, wonderful, caring, generous, inspiring, confident, amazing, extraordinary, marvelous, passionate, determined, hilarious, powerful, kind, loving, gifted, ingenious, compassionate.
Remember: kids can spot false praise a mile away. When you praise the kids in your life, you need to mean it. It shouldn’t be hard. If there’s a kid in your life in treatment or recovery from a mental health disorder, you probably admire them already. Therefore, simply be genuine, tell the kid how awesome they are, and move on. They’ll appreciate it and you’ll appreciate the smiles or hugs you get in return.
Praise All Kids
The kid or kids you praise don’t have to be your own. They can be kids you work with, kids you teach, kids you coach, or friends of your kid. They can be kids in the neighborhood. It really doesn’t matter how you know them – what matters is that you recognize their awesomeness and tell them about it.
Don’t hold back.
Be as cheesy and embarrassing as possible. Lavish that kid with praise. Tell them you feel lucky to know them, and you know they’re going to do incredible – absolutely incredible – things with their life. If you’re stuck, wondering exactly how you’re going to do this, and everything we’ve written up to this point doesn’t help, we’ve got you covered: click here for more tips, more adjectives, and downloadable, step-by-step resources to help you let the incredible kids in your life know how you feel.
Angus is a writer from Atlanta, GA who writes about behavioral health, adolescent development, education, and mindfulness practices like yoga, tai chi, and meditation.