Descriptive adjectives and phrases

Use positive, descriptive adjectives to help describe the unique characteristics of a child.

accomplished
active
affectionate
alert
ambitious
amiable
amusing
animated
appealing
articulate
artistic
athletic
aware
bashful
bold
bouncy
bright
bubbly
busy
calm
captivating
careful
caring
cautious
centered
charismatic
charming
cheerful
clever
comical
compassionate
confident
connected
conscientious
considerate
creative
cuddly
curious
delightful
dependable
determined
diligent
directed
dramatic
dynamic
eager
earnest
easygoing
endearing
energetic

engaging
entertaining
enthusiastic
expressive
extraordinary
extroverted
exuberant
fascinating
focused
friendly
fun
funny
generous
gentle
gifted
healthy
helpful
genuine
hilarious
honest
hopeful
humorous
imaginative
indefatigable
independent
innovative
inquisitive
intelligent
interesting
introspective
irresistible
jovial
joyful
kind
likeable
lively
lovable
loving
loyal
mannerly
mature
merry
mild
mischievous
musical
neat
obedient
optimistic
orderly
organized

outgoing
outspoken
patient
peaceful
perfectionist
persistent
personable
playful
pleasant
poetic
polite
popular
positive
practical
precious
precocious
protective
rambunctious
reliable
religious
resilient
resourceful
respectful
self-confident
sensitive
shy
sincere
skillful
sociable
spirited
spiritual
spunky
steadfast
strong-willed
studious
sweet
talented
talkative
tender
thoughtful
tireless
trusting
trustworthy
typical
upbeat
vivacious
warm
well-behaved
whimsical
witty

Alternate phrases help paint a positive picture:

  • "Right on target" instead of "average."
  • "Diagnosed with a condition expected to shorten his life span" instead of "HIV positive" or "terminally ill."
  • "Wheelchair user" instead of "wheelchair dependent" or "wheelchair bound."
  • "Child with special needs" instead of "special-needs child."
  • "He is challenged by..." instead of "he has...."
  • "Boy," "girl," "youngster," "youth," "teen," "young man," "young woman," "young lady," instead of "a male" or "a female."
  • "These siblings are hoping for a family of the same race," instead of "An African American family is needed."
  • "Has difficulty controlling impulses," "experienced severe abuse," "displays acting-out behavior," "needs to be the youngest or only child," "is overcoming past trauma," instead of "sexually abused."
  • "Emotionally challenged" or "severe emotional problems," instead of "emotionally disturbed."
  • Watch out for sex-role stereotyping such as describing boys as "energetic and adventurous" and their sister as "sweet and adorable." Use informative and descriptive words for both genders.