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When Kids Know Better, They Do Better.

This is one of Oprah Winfrey’s favorite quotes and we think it’s a great quote to share with your kids.

Oprah first heard this quote from Maya Angelou, after sharing her embarrassment about some of the decisions she had made during her twenties.[1]

Maya encouraged her to release herself from her past – she reminded Oprah that she is no longer the same person she was during her twenties and that “when you know better you do better”.

Kids often hold onto their mistakes and embarrassments because they aren’t sure how to move past them.

As a person who cares about kids, you have the opportunity to teach the kids in your life not to judge themselves based on who they were and the mistakes they made, but to define themselves by who they want to be – the vision they have for their lives.

Here are four tips that can help you share to this with children:

1. Drop all labels. If you hear a child using labels about himself – “I’m a mess-up”, “I’m a klutz”, “I’m not very smart”, etc. encourage him to drop these labels and see himself in a different light. Remind the child that his self-talk programs who he is within his mind. So, if he sees himself as a klutz, he will do klutzy things.

2. Remind your kids that it’s never too late to change. Just because they have a history of doing something, doesn’t mean they have to continue doing it. Remind children that they get to choose how they see themselves – encourage them to see themselves as the person they want to be.

3. Help kids develop self-esteem based on “who they are” – not based on what they do. When kids’ self-esteem comes from the inside, it is much easier for them to deal with the ups and downs of life, without their self-esteem being negatively impacted.

4. Teach them how to manage mistakes. Teach kids that the gift of mistakes is that they can learn something from them. When kids embrace the concept of “learning from it and letting it go”, they can “know better and do better.”

Have fun connecting with kids!

P.S. This works for us grownups too :).


[1] Maya Angelou is a celebrated American author, poet, and civil rights leader. She was one of Oprah Winfrey’s mentors.

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