In a world of self-esteem dampening and confidence-destroying media, kids need help to remind them of their worth.
Their self-worth comes from simply existing, not from their performance, as western society suggests.
One of the best ways to set your child up for success is to use affirmations.
Yes, you read that correctly. Contrary to belief, affirmations aren't just for spirituality, they are also an effective cognitive behavioural therapy tool for all ages to help with self-confidence.
So, let's dive in and see how you can bring affirmations into your child's life and help them thrive.
What are affirmations?
Affirmations are positive statements that can help you to challenge and overcome negative thoughts and beliefs about yourself. They can be used to build self-esteem, confidence, and resilience in kids.
Affirmations were first popularised in the self-help movement of the 1920s as a way to change your thinking and improve your life. The efficacy of affirmations in its early uptake is most notably seen in the book "Think and Grow Rich" by Napoleon Hill.
They work by countering negative thoughts with positive ones. For example, if your child believes they are 'stupid', an affirmation such as "I am smart and capable" can help to challenge that belief.
When kids use affirmations, they are essentially training their brain to focus on the positive, which can lead to improved mental health and wellbeing.
Why use affirmations with kids?
As mentioned before, kids are exposed to a lot of negativity from the media and society. They are under immense pressure to perform well in school, look a certain way, and behave in a particular manner.
So, it's no wonder that so many kids today suffer from low self-esteem and confidence.
Using affirmations with kids can help to counter all of the negative messages they receive on a daily basis.
They can help kids to build self-esteem, confidence, and resilience. They can also help to reduce anxiety and stress, and improve overall mental health and wellbeing.
How to explain affirmations to your kids
Now that we know all about affirmations and why they are so important for kids, let's look at how you can explain them to your child.
Affirmations can be a bit of a difficult concept for kids to understand, so it's important to take the time to explain it to them in a way that they can easily grasp.
Our favourite way to explain affirmations to kids is to use the analogy of planting a seed.
Explain to your child that when they plant a seed in the ground, they need to water it and give it sunlight so that it can grow.
In the same way, when they say an affirmation, they are planting a positive thought in their mind. And just like a seed, it needs to be watered (with repetition) and given sunlight (belief) in order to grow.
Once your child understands the analogy, you can then give them some examples of affirmations that they can use.
Ten simple steps to make affirmations fun
1. Choose an affirmation that resonates with your child
As a parent, it can be challenging to find the right words to encourage your child.
However, the power of affirmations should not be underestimated. Just a few simple words can help to boost your child's confidence and self-esteem.
When choosing an affirmation for your child, it is important to select something that resonates with them. For example, if they are struggling with anxiety, you might choose an affirmation such as "I am calm and confident." Alternatively, if they are facing a difficult situation, you might say "I am strong and capable."
Whatever affirmation you choose, make sure that it is delivered with love and sincerity. These words have the potential to change your child's life for the better.
2. Write the affirmation on a piece of paper or in a journal
Sit down with your child and brainstorm a list of positive statements about themselves. Once you have a list, help them to choose their favourite ones and write them down.
You can then hang the affirmations up in their room or somewhere else where they will see them every day, such as a journal.
3. Help your child to say the affirmation out loud, every day
Parents should encourage their children to say affirmations out loud, every day. It is a great way to start the day with a positive attitude and set the tone for the day. It is also a great way to end the day, by reflecting on the positive things that happened during the day.
Affirmations can be anything from “I am loved” to “I am happy” to “I am grateful for…”. The possibilities are endless, and there is no right or wrong way to do it. The important thing is that it comes from the heart and is said with sincerity. Parents can have fun with this, too. They can come up with their own affirmations, or even make up silly ones with their child. The important thing is that it is a positive experience for both parent and child.
4. Let your child decorate their affirmation journal with drawings and stickers
Another great way to make affirmations fun for kids is to let them decorate their journal with drawings and stickers. This will help to make the journal more personal and special to them. It will also help them to associate positive feelings with the affirmations.
The more fun they have with it, the more likely they are to stick with the habit.
5. Get creative! Turn affirmations into songs, poems, or stories
If your child is struggling to remember their affirmations, or if they are simply bored of saying them, you can get creative and turn them into songs, poems, or stories. This will help to make the experience more enjoyable for your child and will also help them to remember the affirmations more easily.
There are lots of affirmation songs and chants available online, or you could even make up your own.
6. Turn affirmations into a game
There are plenty of games you can create around affirmations, but here is a great starter one.
Write out a bunch of affirmations on pieces of paper and put them into a jar. Then, every day, have your child pick out one affirmation and say it out loud 10 times.
You can even turn it into a competition to see who can say their affirmation the most times in a day. This will make the experience more fun and interactive for your child.
7. Reward your child for sticking to their affirmations routine
It is important to encourage and motivate your child to stick to their affirmations routine. A great way to do this is to offer them a small reward for every week that they successfully complete their affirmations.
For example, you could take them out for ice cream or buy them a new toy. If you don’t want to buy them something, you can reward them with a fun activity afternoon. This will help to further reinforce the positive associations that they are making with the affirmations.
8. Encourage other family members to join in
One of the best things about affirmations is that they can be done by anyone, at any time. So, why not encourage other family members to join in? This will help your child to feel more supported and will also make the affirmations more fun.
You could even turn it into a competition to see who can come up with the most creative affirmations!
9. Have fun with affirmations and let them know that it's okay to make mistakes
Affirmations are a great tool to help children build self-confidence and self-esteem. But it's important to let them know that it's okay to make mistakes. Everyone makes mistakes sometimes, and that's perfectly normal. What's important is that they keep trying and never give up.
So, have fun with affirmations and let your child know that it's okay to make mistakes. They will eventually get the hang of it and learn to love themselves, just the way they are.
10. Keep a positive attitude yourself
It's important that you keep a positive attitude yourself when teaching your child about affirmations. If you are constantly negative and critical, your child will pick up on that and it will undermine the positive message that you are trying to send. So, be sure to keep a positive attitude yourself and model the behaviour that you want your child to adopt.
Affirmations are a great tool to help children build self-confidence and self-esteem. But it's important to make them fun and interactive for your child. Use the tips above to get started. And, most importantly, keep a positive attitude yourself and model the behaviour that you want your child to adopt.
With a little effort, you can help your child to develop a healthy and positive relationship with themselves.
Are you ready to create a positive mindset environment for you and your family? Then check out our Instagram page @Malpaper for more mental health and lifestyle content!