When I was growing up, my dad used to say to me, “whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re absolutely right”. His version of the Henry Ford quote was designed to teach me about the power of our mindset. One of the most effective ways to help kids change their mindset is by teaching them to use positive affirmations. The thing about something that you hear or say over and over is that it gets stuck in your brain. It becomes part of your inner voice. This is true for both positive and negative words.
During certain times in my life, my dad’s repetition of that quote has come to mind. That quote has even come out of my own mouth in talking to my children. In that same way, affirmations that we tell our kids or that they tell themselves will live in their minds and be brought forward in the future.
As parents, we want as many of those as possible to be positive.
When one of my kids is struggling, do I want the first thought that comes to mind to be “I can’t do this” or do I want it to be “I can figure this out”?
Obviously, I want it to be the latter. But in order for that to happen, I need to ensure that they are practising positive affirmations.A positive affirmation is a statement meant to overcome negative thoughts. Negative thoughts contribute to self-sabotage, stress, pessimism, anxiety, and depression. Therefore, you want to retrain your child’s brain to replace those negative thoughts with positive ones.
How do I use positive affirmations with kids?
- Repetition, repetition, repetition. The key to this method being effective is having the affirmation repeated often. It also helps if the affirmation is said out loud by others, “you are kind”, by the child, “I am kind”, and is reinforced in other ways such as singing a song about it or colouring it.
- Use affirmations in the present tense. Even if the statement is something your child has not yet mastered and is still working towards, it is more powerful to say “I am a good friend” than it is to say “I will be a good friend”.
- Affirmations need to be specific.
- Allow your child to choose their own affirmations. You can of course make suggestions, but the most effective ones will be those that resonate with them.
How do I teach my child to be positive?
One complaint I hear from a lot of parents is that their child is negative. Some kids seem to be born with a “glass half empty” mentality. While positive affirmations are not going to completely change a child’s personality, they will improve your child’s outlook.
The way that a child sees themselves shapes the way they see the world. When a child sees themselves negatively, they will also see everything around them through that lens.
Practising positive affirmations can help a child to see themselves in a more positive light. This then allows them to see those people and circumstances around them more optimistically as well.
Practising intentional gratitude will also help a child to be more positive. They can do this by:
- writing or saying five things they are grateful for each day
- writing thank you notes
- drawing what they are thankful for
- using Post-its to jot down what they are grateful for
- making positive observations about what they see, smell, touch, taste, or hear
We have a gratitude hallway covered in Post-its. It makes me smile. The kids add Post-its whenever they want.
Positive affirmations do not address underlying trauma or special needs. They aren’t a “quick fix”. But even for children who have early childhood trauma issues or other factors that negatively affect their mindset, positive affirmations are not harmful. They can be one tiny piece of the puzzle towards healing.
Adorable Unicorn Affirmations for Kids:
These free printable unicorn affirmation pages are adorable! They include the following positive affirmations:
- I am confident.
- I am happy.
- I am kind.
- I am brave.
- I am patient.
- I am loved.
- I am a good friend.
- I am proud of myself.
- I am safe.
- I am awesome.
To download your printable unicorn affirmation pages for kids to colour, just submit your email below.