Kids need to hear positive words. (They obviously need to hear less negativity, too.) However, sometimes it is human nature to think or say not-so-nice things when we are busy, stressed, or tired. While this is no excuse, it happens and we need to have ways to combat the habit and the reaction. Adults and kids alike are guilty of this self-aggrandizing behavior (and sometimes we spread this general unhappiness to others). Affirmations are ways to break this bad habit and form a healthier state of mind and behavior.
Quite simply, affirmations are positive things we say to ourselves. They can be compliments, goals, intentions, prayers, etc. They are those statements that are the OPPOSITE of the “I’m not good enough” thoughts. They are the antithesis of all the negativity brought on by frustration, fear, and unhappiness. They can’t heal a person, but they are an effective tool for reframing the mind towards a place more conducive to love and acceptance. For kids, it is best to start out simple with statements that are easy to remember for fluid repetition and that are relevant to their daily struggles. Try introducing the following affirmations to the kids in your life:
- ◾“I am loved”. The most important; the great umbrella. Without this knowledge and belief, no other affirmation matters. Every human needs to feel love, particularly tiny humans. Sometimes when we adults use harsh words or behave foolishly, children can internalize that and doubt their value. It is up to us adults to show them that they are loved. Part of that is telling them! They also need to be able to look in the mirror and say that to themselves. So, every day before bed, say it with your child, “I am loved”.
- ◾“I can do hard things”. It is in our nature to want to give up when presented with challenge. Challenge can sometimes be seen as a warning sign to not do something. But most of the time, challenge is healthy and when we face adversity with triumph, we become more resilient and empathetic. As parents and teachers, we often see our children struggling and feel inclined to save them. As long as no imminent danger or lasting damage is present, we must allow our children to problem-solve and work through the day’s challenge. By telling them and by encouraging them to tell themselves, “I can do hard things”, they know it is possible to achieve their goals, even if they are full of toil.
- ◾“I have an open heart and open mind”. While affirmations are undoubtedly meant to boost confidence, it is extremely important that they serve the purpose of developing self-efficacy and compassion.
So, affirmations that focus on effort and innate worth are preferable to affirmations that depend on natural, but unchangeable aspects of a person. “I am loved” is important because humans deserve love as a fundamental right. “I can do hard things” is vital because it reassures that people have the potential to DO. “I have an open heart and mind” is crucial because it awakens the child’s perception of the self in relation to their world and the other humans in it. It says that it can accept, learn, experience, and love back. With an open heart and mind, one can extend compassion to others and one can constantly work toward improvement.
Affirmations are wonderful tools to build up a person!
Heather has a BA in English and Masters in Education. She works as a yoga teacher, postpartum doula, educator, and writer. Her hobbies include anything crafty, reading, and discovering new things. She has six amazing kiddos who rock her world. Find her on Instagram @hhorrell.