Do you practice positive affirmations with your child? If so, do you have them say it out loud and leave it at that? Maybe you’re child isn’t a talker so you tell them a positive trait here and there.
Having children say a positive affirmation out loud is great and has it’s place, but are they applying it? I would have teachers that would say “great job you can memorize and repeat the information, but now show me that you can apply it”.
My son is a toddler, so he cant repeat affirmations yet. However, I have noticed that from an early age he understood tone of voice and facial expressions.
I don’t underestimate him. He knows when he is being encouraged and when he is being told “no”. He can communicate emotion.
As parents we can help mold our child’s thinking and that includes how they think and feel about themselves. Use positive affirmations as a daily dialogue to help you do this. But how? Just keep reading…
It does take some getting used to if you’re not already doing it, but I can help you get started with the tips below.
I know it can be hard to show grace when we’re stressed, tired, busy or even fed up, but I see it as an investment. My child’s positive self esteem is an investment that will set him up for success for a lifetime and I get to play a major role in that.
“The way we talk to our child becomes their inner voice” — Peggy O’Mara
The above quote has stuck with me hard. It hits me to my core to know that what I say, especially the little things, can have such a profound effect. It’s an honor I choose to accept and enjoy, but it is a daily commitment.
I started when my son was a baby as a way to start the habit early, but you can start now! There is no perfect parent, so don’t go expecting perfection. The terrible twos won’t magically disappear and teenagers wont’ turn into adorable little angels.
Remember, I said this is an investment. You have to be in it for the long haul. I still call my mama on rough days and she helps me through it every time.
As a matter of fact, the tips I’m going to give you came from what my parents instilled in me. I even see my sister doing it with her kids and I can see the results paying off.
Tips to get that positive affirmation dialogue going!
1.Speak it to them directly
Children believe adults. You are their advocate. Call them by name, make eye contact and speak directly to them.
Self talk is huge. It’s an indicator of how you have been speaking to them. Listen, without judgement, when you hear them talk about themselves when they make a mistake. Talk to them how you want them to talk to and about themselves.
If you ever want to know, just ask. When they make a mistake and they’re upset, ask them how they feel and why. If you don’t like what you hear, correct them right then and make a note to make sure you aren’t telling them that.
This is not all on the parents! There could be another care giver that means well and loves your child dearly, but they may be a “Debbie downer” and practice negative speak.
Kids pick up on that, so I would just check in and correct where you can. If you notice a pattern and need to let that person know that the child is repeating them then there’s nothing wrong with that. You are your child’s advocate.
2. Prove it
Back up the positive affirmation by giving your child real life proof and examples of how they have shown whatever the affirmation may be. I have to do this for myself.
If your affirmation is “you are strong”, tell them a time that they were strong. Something like “I watched you at every baseball practice and you always made it through the workouts. That’s tough stuff and shows a lot of strength
3. Unconditional love
Create an environment of unconditional love especially when your kid is making mistakes. Knowing that my parents love me no matter what I did or what I do relives so much pressure. I’ve found that this creates a deeper level of trust. Say the words. Tell them you love them.
4. Sneaky confidence boosters
The positive affirmations into everyday conversations like it’s totally normal and just another part of the convo. My mom is the queen of this.
When I was first looking into makeup, my mom let me get some products to experiment with. When I was upset that none of the foundations matched my skin tone she just kind of shrugged her shoulders and casually told me I didn’t need it because my natural complexion didn’t need any help.
She went onto say makeup is just a fun bonus with beautiful skin like yours. That’s why they don’t even have a foundation for it.
She wasn’t feeling sorry or trying to convince me of anything. She was just stating her truth and I believed her.
Another example was when my nephew spilled juice all over his clothes.He tried to pour it himself and juice was everywhere! He got upset and said “I’m a mess!”. My sister said “no, you are not a mess, you just made a mess and it’s okay. I love you”.
I was in the other room and she didn’t know I could hear, but that moment resonated with me. The fact that one sentence could change how he saw himself in that moment. It was a beautiful thing.
Let your child know that you are their biggest fan because you are!
I would be careful not to overdue it and create a stuck up kid. I’ve seen that and it’s super annoying *insert eye roll*
In my case, my son is a new toddler so the talking thing is not fully developed yet. Still, when he tries to do something and it’s not going his way, he gets upset as toddlers do.
Instead of ignoring it or telling him stop getting upset, I encourage him, give him a compliment based on what he was attempting and lead him to something else. I try to use those frustrating opportunities as practice dialogue for when he gets older.
Application and comparison of the two techniques
So, how do you take one positive affirmation and apply it using these 4 tips?
The affirmation : You are determined.
The dialogue : Luke, you are determined (speak). Just last month you were afraid to ride your bike without the training wheels and look at you now! You kept practicing until you got it (prove). I love you, no matter how long it takes you (love).
*on a different day, you could say something like : I like to watch you ride your bike, you’re really good at it!(discuss – everyday convo confidence booster related to the result of the affirmation).
Can you do this dialogue all day, every single time the situation arises? Probably not, but I plan to practice this method as often as possible. Maybe as part of my son’s nighttime routine so he goes to bed confident.
You can pick a positive affirmation for the day. If they have a rough day you can use the tips to get the dialogue started to redirect their mindset and self talk.
It actually helps to give me a breather and change my mindset as well. It’s so hard to put ourselves in our children’s shoes sometimes. My son is just a toddler now, so I’m practicing early.
What about you? Have you always followed this method or is it something new you would like to try?
Leave me a comment and let myself and others know what you like to do to invest in your child’s positive self esteem.
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Thanks for hanging out with me!