When we think about visualizing and manifesting what we desire, one of the most simple and powerful tools at our disposal is the almighty affirmation. Repeating quick, positive statements to ourselves can go a long way for boosting overall feelings of positivity. When it comes to children, the same rules apply.
If you’re unfamiliar, saying affirmations is a positive thinking tool wherein you repeat positive declarations about yourself or your experience. The idea is to start getting yourself in a mindset where you can catch negative thoughts happening and meet them with positive ones. Eventually, you’ll start to believe all the good things you say about yourself and embody them in real-time.
For children, affirmations can be just as useful as they are for adults. Social development and school challenges are tough on a child, so it’s important they learn how to combat negative thoughts about themselves.
We can teach a child how to start thinking positively at a young age; it changes how children view their world and help with their inner dialogue. If we don’t work on that from a young age, we start thinking negatively. Affirmations provide confidence and lead to motivation. They also teach the child how to implement those affirmations when something negative happens, even when their parent isn’t around.
To get started, use affirmations with your child. Together, you could DIY your own cards after brainstorming a few affirmations that feel helpful and relevant.
When I introduce them, I have a deck, and my child picks out a card, and we focus on that card for a day, “For example, I believe in myself. We process what that means, and that will be our mantra for today.”
I recommend practicing the affirmations in front of the mirror, noting what they start to repeat; they will begin to believe and see. You can remind your child of their affirmation by placing the card on the fridge or in their room and pointing it out if you catch them in a moment when they might need to use their affirmation.
When they’re older, you can discuss more deeply what an affirmation is and what is positive for them. Having them participate in that dialogue is really important. When it comes to affirmations for kids, the simpler, the better. A good rule of thumb is nothing more than five words (such as finishing this math homework) or more general to everyday life.
The following affirmations are appropriate for young children, preschool to early elementary age. As your child gets older and can conceptualize deeper and longer affirmations, you can help them come up with some:
- I love myself.
- In this household, we focus on the positives.
- I am great.
- I am doing the best I can.
- I am calm.
- I believe in myself.
- I matter.
- I am smart.
- I am lovable.
- I can do it.
- I am strong.
- I am positive.
- I am confident.
- My mistakes help me learn.
- I am beautiful.
- I can do the math.
- I can do this assignment.
- I am motivated.
- I can read.
- I can do this homework.
- I can be whatever I want to be.
- I am enough.
- I stand up for myself.
- I have everything I need.
- I am loved.
- My life is blessed.
- I make a difference.
- I love myself.
- I am a good friend.
- I am a good brother/sister.
- I am important.
- I am always growing.
- My dreams will come true.
Other ways to help your children cope with emotions:
1. Create a safe space.
For children to feel comfortable expressing and working through big emotions, note a safe space is essential. They need to know it’s OK to feel how they’re feeling, and further, it’s OK to talk about it. If they don’t know how to verbally express their feelings, having them draw how they feel is one good option.
2. Encourage expression through play.
Play therapy is a popular tool used by child psychologists to help children get comfortable expressing themselves. Often, children are more comfortable talking about how they feel by playing with a doll or their favorite character. This goes along with creating a safe space but adds an extra element where the child can use a toy or doll to mimic themselves, often revealing how they’re feeling.
3. Show them how to identify emotions (especially positive ones).
And lastly, parents often highlight a child’s negative emotions when it’s important to focus on the positive. When you see your child has a joyful experience or they’re happy, ask them how they feel at that moment; if they can’t explain why you can model it for them.
For example, you could say something like, and I see you’re happy because we’re playing this game. This will help them grow up to recognize when they’re feeling good (which we could all do more of).
The bottom line.
Every parent wants to see their child grow up happy, confident, and in touch with their emotions. Affirmations are a simple and effective tool to help them do so. Children can take affirmations with them for the rest of their lives and use them on the path to becoming resilient, empowered adults.