These days, many kids struggle with self-esteem, and positive words of affirmation can help boost your child’s morale and self-worth. If this is for you, continue reading.
Words are powerful. They have the ability to heal, cause despair, humiliate, encourage and give hope. This is why it is important that we choose our words carefully and use them wisely, especially when talking to kids. We must practice kindness and mindfulness with our speech so that words can become seeds that will grow in the hearts and minds of our children and help them become young adults that are self-assured, emphatic and kind.
I bet you are a bit like me: you want to raise future thought leaders and that job starts from when they are in the womb. Talking to your child when they are perfectly behave does not require special skills, we easily use kind words when we feel loved and in control but when a child starts to talk back and have opinion? That’s when you need to learn how to use words more carefully and effectively.
I was playing a board game with my 6-year old niece; Nabeelah the other day, and it was all fun and games until suddenly it was not. She turned her face away saying, “I can’t play anymore”, “ I am not good enough at this game”, “I don’t want to play anymore Aunty”.
Say that again?
I was taken aback because I know that my brother and his wife always do right by her, so how did this little princess start to say “can’t play” and “not good enough” when talking about herself.
Let’s fix this with Positive Words.
Me: “Darling, you can play because a game is just fun times with me and there is no right or wrong way.”
Nabeelah: “Okay Aunty, I can play. But will you let me win?”
Me: “Haha, that can be arranged but you must understand that you are enough and don’t let anyone tell you different.”
We played another round of the game. This time, we played till the end and I do believe a lesson was learned.
So why should you use positive affirmations?
Kids are by design innocent and trusting. You tell them the “tooth fairy” will pick their fallen tooth from under their pillow and they believe you. You leave cash under the pillow for them and they still believe the tooth fairy put it there.
So why are you not telling them stories about themselves? Tell your kids that they are loved, important, and wanted and watch them use the same words when they are describing themselves and you are looking on with pride.
Just imagine how things will be different if your child is responding to failure with words like “I can do better next time” and “I can do anything I put my mind to”. Believe me, that child is a tough leader with a shining future.
When to use positive affirmations on your kids
Positive affirmations can be used any time. If your child does something that is worthy of affirmation, do not hesitate. But if this is new and you want your older kids to know that you are genuine with your words, using it at the right time is very important.
● Don’t use these positive affirmations excessively, they tend to lose their meaning and purpose if you do.
● Take your time to know your kids. Spend time with them and develop the right positive affirmation for them based on your intimate knowledge of each child.
● Make sure your affirmations are specific and explanatory. When you phrase your affirmations the right way, it passes the message across in the right manner. Instead of saying “thank you” when your child does something you can be more specific and say, “thank you, you are amazing for helping me out with the dirty dishes”. Acknowledge and praise them.
How to use positive affirmations on your kids
In every way, shape and form, you love your kids and you want the best for them but they can also get rowdy and hot-headed, so someone aka the parent has to maintain the calm.
● Use positive affirmations anytime the need arises, but definitely use it every day to support your kid’s mental and emotional growth.
● Use affirmations that your children can understand and link to their actions or words (using age-appropriate language and vocabulary).
● Use the present tense. For example “you’re a good artist” instead of “you will be a good artist”. Encourage them to repeat the affirmation with a personal pronoun “I am” or “you are” makes your affirmation more meaningful.
● Use affirmations that are short and clear, such that your kids are able to understand and repeat them.
● If your child is much younger, it is always best to use positive affirmation as a conversation starter to disrupt any self-doubt and identify their fears.
● Don’t use “but”, when you use “but” with an affirmation, it completely disregards the affirmation and kids tend to focus more on the negative statement. For example, “This is a great painting, but it would have been better if it was bigger” is not a positive language for your kid.
● Positive affirmations are only useful when they are true. Don’t make unreasonable positive statements if the gap between the conscious and the unconscious is too wide, i.e. if their actions don’t meet your words, your child may end up feeling worse than before.
● Teach your kids to use self-affirmations themselves. It takes time but the results of self-affirmation are long-lasting and very rewarding and this would help them so much when they become adults.
● Be patient with your kids. I know you already are but maybe just a little more. Sometimes your kid may require an affirmation to be said and repeated over a long period before it takes effect so just be patient. It pays!
It is very important that you make your kids feel loved and special at all times, most especially in the world of today where things like bullying have become something kids deal with on a regular basis. The good news is that if you have groomed your kids to be positive and confident about themselves, it will be hard for bullies to bring them down. Even when unfavorable situations that may cause them to feel sad and make them less enthusiastic and unmotivated arise, with positive affirmation, they will be able to keep a positive mindset amidst all these challenges.
It is usually a painful thing when you realize that your kid is struggling with their self-image and even worse when you hear them use negative words on themselves or act like they do not believe in their abilities. But all that can change if you follow the steps listed above and start using positive affirmation on your kids today. Believe me, it will turn their life around and soon you will begin to notice a shift in your child’s mindset; they will start to feel like champions and leaders who can accomplish anything. Always remember that your words matter, whatever challenge your child might be facing you can always help them overcome it with positive affirmations.