25 Well-known Sayings and Quotes Your Child Should Know and Understand


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You probably hear or say at least one of these well-known sayings and quotes every day. Your children should know and understand these phrases, as they will not go out of style and will help your child know what the adults mean when they say them. You might even learn a thing or two about how some of the most common sayings and quotes actually originated.

Sayings and Quotes With a Back Story

Don’t let the cat out of the bag!  A well-known saying, but do you know where it originated?  These are some of the best sayings and quotes that come with a back story, so you can give your children even more insight and have a little (often unknown) trivia in your back pocket.

25 well-known sayings and quotes your child should know and understand

1. Pull yourself up by your bootstraps

To most kids, this one will sound silly, what even is a bootstrap? Well, for those that may not know, a bootstrap is that little loop on the back of a shoe that helps you pull on your shoe. So this phrase that started circulating late 1800s was actually meant as sarcasm, as one cannot pull themselves up by their own bootstraps. It has evolved into a quote about helping yourself up and getting going, as you are the only one who can do that. 

2. Beat around the bush

This one will definitely take some kids a while to learn and actually put into practice, but don’t beat around the bush and just get to the point. Children unknowingly do this too often. However, the phrase actually comes from medieval hunting days, when they would rouse the birds by beating the bushes to get them to fly out and then shoot them. Originally, the UK version said to “beat the bush” but the American version is “beat around the bush.”

3. Break a leg

If you have ever been to a live performance you might have overheard the performers saying “Break a leg!” which means good luck in the theater world, although no one seems to know exactly how it started. Theatercrafts.com has a list of at least a dozen ideas of where it could have originated from, great (worthless) trivia knowledge!

4. Don’t let the cat out of the bag

This is a phrase you most likely use yourself, as to not tell a secret, but did you know where it actually stems from? This is one of those sayings and quotes origins that might surprise you. Hundreds of years ago, animals were sold at markets and given to the customer in a bag. Sometimes, instead of a piglet, a cat was placed in the bag instead, which would be an unwelcome surprise when they got home. 

25 well-known sayings and quotes your child should know and understand

5. We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it

Children and adults often are looking at the worst-case scenario and play out every possible outcome, yet there is a high chance that most, if not all, options won’t even come into play. Instead, only worry about what is in front of you, what you can control right now – not what maybe could happen, but most likely is not ever going to.

6. Kill two birds with one stone

So how exactly can you kill two birds with one stone? It sounds basically impossible, doesn’t it? However, it could be possible while hunting, which is where this phrase is thought to have originated. This is probably one of the oldest, most commonly used sayings and quotes as it is at least 300 years old. Knowyourphrase.com lists two different scenarios that could have come about.

7. Go back to the drawing board

Start over, simply go back to where you began, and start over. The origin of this phrase is thought to be from an American cartoonist, Peter Arno, who drew a cartoon of a plane crash and a man walking away saying, “Well, back to the drawing board.”  Let’s just hope that was not in regard to the plane crash!

8. Going on wild goose chase

25 well-known sayings and quotes your child should know and understand

Ah, the wild goose chase of searching for something that almost seems pointless, and there a strong possibility that it will be a waste of time as you may never find what you are looking for. Similar sayings and quotes include finding a needle in a haystack. Basically, both are nearly impossible, so quit while you are ahead. 

Read More: 4 Topics To Avoid When Engaging With Others & Their Children

Everyday Sayings and Quotes 

25 well-known sayings and quotes your child should know and understand

You might throw around your favorite sayings and quotes every day, maybe your favorites are on this list or maybe you might pick up a new favorite one. These are the best go-to ones that can be used every day, just trying to not overdo it with the sayings and quotes so they lose the appeal.  

9. Treat others the way you want to be treated

This is a golden rule to live by, and all children should learn this early on – the sooner the better, as it will help them succeed in all areas of their life. This is more than just another sayings and quotes line that falls on deaf ears; it is something all children (young and old) should learn to live by.

10. Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today -Benjamin Franklin

People procrastinate on pretty much everything they can if they can. Even kids will wait until the last final moment to use the restroom before they soil themselves. However, it is much easier to do something today (especially simple tasks) than put it off tomorrow, because inevitably something else will pop up tomorrow that will need your time and attention.

11. There is no “I” in team

This is another one that may get some eye rolls, but the quicker that children learn to work together as a team, the better they will be in the long run! As important as learning to stick up for yourself, this is one of those sayings and quotes children should learn as soon as possible.

12. A blessing in disguise

Things are not always as bad as they may seem. Sometimes, that not-so-great thing that happened to you actually ends up being a fortunate event. This is one of those sayings and quotes that you may not need often but will help during trying times.

25 well-known sayings and quotes your child should know and understand

13. Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. Today is a gift. That’s why we call it ‘The Present’ –Eleanor Roosevelt

Eleanor Roosevelt said it perfectly with this timeless saying, children are the best examples of living in the moment, but as they get older, they get caught up in the day-to-day activities and forget to live in the moment. Constantly looking ahead to a vacation, end of the workday, the next coffee break, or looking in the rearview mirror at what could have been. That is no way to live and it is best to live in the moment (as much as you can too, as a busy adult in today’s world).

14. No one is prefect, that is why pencils have erasers

If you are lucky enough to have a particular child who has to do everything perfectly, this is one of those sayings and quotes that will come in handy – a lot!  Especially while helping them learn to write, doing homework, and as try to figure out new things on their own.

25 well-known sayings and quotes your child should know and understand

15. Walk a mile in someone’s else’s shoes

Judging others is a natural thing, although most people do it more often than they care to admit.  Teach children to take a step back and really look at where another person is coming from – empathy will only get you further in life.

16. No pain no gain

This one is more than just physical pain, it can also refer to emotional and mental pain. There is often some type of “pain” during any growth phase that helps you get where you want to be.

17. Why fit in, when you were born to stand out -Dr. Suess

You probably have read a Dr. Suess book to your child, and he had a way with words. This is one of those wonderful sayings and quotes for children to not only learn, but to fully take in, as too often children try to be like everyone else instead of the unique person they actually are.

Read More: Hiking With Kids In Tow: 4 Tricks To Truly Enjoy Your Adventures

Motivational Sayings and Quotes

25 well-known sayings and quotes your child should know and understand

Let’s be honest, everyone can use a little motivation from day to day. There are motivational sayings and quotes you probably have heard during tough times or when you need a little motivation yourself. Below are some of the best ones for kids to know, learn, and take to heart.  Being a kid can have its rough patches and as kids get older, they will only be met with more adversity, so better to have these in their back pocket early on!

18. What doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger

Kids often are overdramatic and complain about everything. Sure, the scratch does not feel good, but it is probably not that bad and you will forget about it in thirty minutes. The same goes for stuff that happens in life. There will be plenty of uncomfortable moments (mentally, physically, and emotionally), not always fun or pleasant, but regardless, it will make you stronger in the outcome.

19. When one door closes another one opens

It is hard to always look on the bright side of things when there is an unexpected change, even for adults. This is a great lesson, all kids should adapt early on as, throughout their life, they will be faced with lots of sudden changes they most likely did not expect.  As the saying goes, it will just open new opportunities for them – something they probably wouldn’t have been open to if they were going down another path.

20. Chin up

You might get an eye roll when you say this to your child, especially if they are a bit down at the moment. If they are literally down and sad, it most likely means they are looking down at the ground instead of straight ahead, so chin up literally means hold your chin up, face the day, and move on.

21. Every cloud has a silver lining

No matter how bad a situation, there is always an end to it and things will get better. This is a good one for parents as well. Every child goes through a lot of phases through their time with you, but even the worst phase ends. This is one of those sayings and quotes that can help you get through those tough times you cannot control.

25 well-known sayings and quotes your child should know and understand

22. Fall seven times, get up eight times

Everyone faces adversity in their life, sometimes those periods can seem never-ending as if you keep getting pushed down and you have two choices, either get up or stay down. If you stay down, you will not get anywhere, but eventually, one time you will get up and keep going. This also goes for trying something new. As a parent, you watched your child learn to walk, and guaranteed, the first time they took a few steps they fell down, but it didn’t deter them from getting up again and again and learning to walk.

23. You miss 100% of the chances you don’t take

Ah, this is one of those great sayings and quotes for children and adults alike. Often, people think that someone got where are they are because they are lucky or just handed that perfect job. Sure, people may luck out sometimes, but most likely they took a chance on that job, person, opportunity, and that is what got them where they are.  If you don’t take a chance, there will be no reward and you will never know what could have been.

24. Luck is the residue of design –John Milton

Some people may be viewed as having more luck than others, but if you look closely, you will realize that it is not just luck. It’s hard work, perseverance, and making sure you are in the right place at the right time to say yes to opportunity.

25. To the world, you may be one person but to one person you may be the world

It’s a big (yet small) world, and as kids are out there on their own they may feel small and insignificant. As parents, you know that is never the case. It’s a favorite on this list of sayings and quotes, as we could all use the reminder now and again. As kids grow and go into bigger classrooms and are involved in more extracurricular activities, it is easy to feel lost among the shuffle. It is important for children to know they are special, and regardless of how many people may be around them, they are so important to someone. 

25 well-known sayings and quotes your child should know and understand

There is a strong chance that you hear one of these common sayings and quotes or other popular sayings and quotes every single day. Some may resonate more with you or your children, but it is good for kids to learn these commonly used, motivational sayings and quotes early on so they will understand more of what others are saying around them. Plus, they will have that knowledge in their back pocket if they ever need to say it to someone else.

Check out this article on Summer Activities For Kids: 15 Cool Toys To Keep Them Content

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25 Sayings And Quotes Your Child Should Know


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