Why is Speaking Affirmations so Important for Children?
What affirmations are and what they do
I like to think of affirmations as power-packed self-belief builders and bully-thought busters!
They are short and empowering phrases that are spoken out regularly to help program the brain for self-confidence and self-worth.
They’re also great ammunition against harmful and limiting thoughts and beliefs.
Affirmations give kids the power to encourage themselves and nurture their own mental and emotional wellbeing.
Getting kids to speak them often is like doing exercises for the brain that builds ‘muscle’ to help them become more resilient to life’s difficulties. It also creates a stronger sense of self-esteem and confidence.
Neuroscience has discovered that using affirmations helps develop pathways in our brain that strengthen:
- positive emotions
Wow, that’s quite a list! What a way to give kids a boost in life!
Let’s take a look at how to get started.
How to introduce kids to affirmations
It’s very important to teach children that their thoughts - the words in their head, really matter because they cause how we feel and what we do.
You can explain that affirmations are like taking vitamins for their thoughts and emotions! It helps to make them stronger and healthier!
Introduce the affirmations in a fun and playful way.
(A great resource for teaching children the connection between their thoughts, feelings and actions is my I’m the thinker of My Thoughts book and workbook set.)
What not to do with affirmations
Just a little side-note - positive affirmations should always stay that way.
What I mean by that, is using them to correct a child’s behavior or attitude is counter-productive. This doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be used as a helpful tool in the moment if they’re having trouble, just not in a way where they feel they’re ‘bad’ and you’re trying to fix or correct them.
Always try to approach them with positivity!
On that note, let’s get started on the tips for making them more powerful and fun!
7 tips to make affirmations more powerful and fun
1 - Mirror, Mirror, on the Wall… Make Them Feel 10 Feet Tall!
Many children love to look at themselves in the mirror. As adults, we often go into self-assessment and critical mode when we do. We’re always looking for, and noticing, imperfections.
What if we trained ourselves – and our kids, to make looking in the mirror a positive and uplifting experience? What if we treated the person in the mirror like a friend, and spoke to them with encouraging words?
There are a few great reasons to do affirmations with kids in front of a mirror. First of all, when creating a new habit, it helps to add it to one that’s already established, as a reminder.
We often wind up in front of a mirror with our kids:
- During morning and evening routines, like washing up and brushing teeth
- Throughout the day while washing hands
- When they’re with you while you’re putting on make-up or grooming
Together, look at yourselves in the mirror, and speak out the affirmations. (It really helps if you have them pinned or taped on, or near it.)
The children get to see and hear themselves speaking the powerful and encouraging words. They can look right into their own eyes and speak just like they’re talking to someone. It makes the experience more real and impactful.
2 - Add Some Motion and Emotion
It’s been proven that speaking out affirmations with feeling creates more effective results. It also makes you feel more empowered in the moment! Adding some actions or movement solidifies it in the brain more as well.
For instance, putting your hand over your heart when saying, “I am special”, or “I am kind”, pumping a fist in the air when saying “I can do it!”, or pointing a finger to your chest and saying, “I am enough!”
One of the best actions you can do while speaking the affirmations is to smile!
3 - Repeat to Help Them Beat Defeat!
If you repeat the affirmation multiple times – 3 is a good amount – it does a couple of key things.
First of all, repetition makes something more memorable. All teachers know that repetition is important for training the brain!
Another thing it does, is build emphasis, energy, and emotion! It’s kind of like repeating a key phrase in a song and upping the tempo. If you agree with the statement in the song, you can feel your belief grow and resonate more and more as it’s repeated.
This tip is very useful, especially when helping overcome a troublesome thought or belief.
4 - Hide and Seek – Find Harmful Thoughts That Sneak
Speaking of overcoming problem thoughts, sometimes we forget that thoughts create our feelings.
When a child is struggling with confidence, anxiety, or other emotional issues, there is usually a hindering thought or belief hiding behind it!
You can make a game of it by playing ‘hide and seek’, and looking for the sneaky thought that’s causing the problem. You could say, “I wonder what sneaky thought is hiding behind that feeling. What do you think it could be?”
Maybe give some suggestions and even talk about some of your own thoughts when you feel that way.
Then try using or creating an appropriate affirmation to replace the ones causing trouble!
5 - Speak in Their Ear What They Need to Hear
There are a few layers to this tip. Children model what they see and hear, so speaking positively to yourself is being a good role model for them.
Also, speaking positive statements to them regularly and showing you believe in them is so valuable. They will believe what they hear. Make sure they’re hearing the heart of the affirmations from you.
They’re constantly hearing negative things at school, from siblings, or their own thoughts, so try to battle that as much as possible by looking into their eyes and speaking truths to them from your heart.
6 - Take Stock by Having a Talk
Have some conversations about positive things they believe about themselves. You can add what you see or believe about them as well.
Write them down like a positive inventory as future reminders, especially when they’re having a hard time.
Get them to focus on the strengths they already have, and wins they’ve accomplished, no matter how small. That will help build their self-confidence to try new things, and defeat the negative self-talk that says “I’m not good at anything!”.
7 - Use Rhyme or Song to Make the Memory Strong
Kids love rhyming, singing, and dancing! Songs and rhymes really make things memorable.
Most of us can remember poems and songs we learned as children, or heard on TV ads. They use little ditties on ads for a reason - they work to keep their product stuck in your mind!
If you can turn some affirmations into rhymes or make up fun songs, no matter how silly, kids will love it and they’ll remember them!
Speaking of memorable rhymes, my book, I’m the Boss of My Brain – a children’s poetry book on thought habits and growth mindset, is filled with rhyming poems that make these important concepts easy to remember.
You can check it out here:
Also, I took some lines from the poems and made a Free PDF with rhyming growth mindset affirmations in it. You can get your free copy by clicking the link below:
I hope you’ll use these tips to help kids build the habit of speaking positive affirmations that empower them to believe in themselves!
Thanks for reading and have an awesome and positive day!
All the best,