One day I came across one popular acronym that really made me cringe. TBH. To Be Honest.
The idea is that someone writes a post asking you to like their status for a TBH rating. If you ‘like’ the person’s status, then they will give you a rating of what they think about you. What could go wrong with this?
Most of the posts I read consisted of people rating each other on their physical appearance and their popularity at school. Some ratings were kind, but let’s be real, not all TBH ratings are positive. I read some pretty mean things that would crush the self-confidence of most adults.
The problem with this is that many kids will internalize the negative comments and before you know it, it becomes their self-talk. They start to believe the negative comments said about them. This no doubt will negatively impact their mood and the experiences they have.
So how do we go about protecting children from falling prey to stinking thinking?
While there is no simple answer, I believe talking to children and helping them become secure in who they are is a place to start. I find that teaching children affirmations for self-esteem helps to boost their self-confidence. I’ve included a set of 30 different affirmations for self-esteem that I typically use when working with children.
What Are Affirmations?
When kids are prone to constantly saying and thinking negative things about themselves, they will need to retrain their brains to think more positively. They can do this through practicing positive affirmations for self-esteem.
Positive affirmations are statements designed to build self-esteem through changing negative self-talk. These affirmations for self-esteem make children feel good about themselves and help them embrace their positive qualities.
How Do Positive Affirmations Work?
In order to understand how affirmations work, we need to know a little about the brain. The brain has centralized control over all the other organs in the body. It is constantly sending and receiving messages to help the body function properly.
Since the brain processes all this information on the spot, it takes everything we say and think literally. The brain doesn’t distinguish between real and fantasy.This is why scary movies frighten some people even though they know what’s happening is not real.
Therefore, when kids repeat positive affirmations for self-esteem, their brain receive it as truth. Even if they haven’t fully internalized and owned the positive statement.
Why Should Kids Repeat Positive Affirmations Often?
Regularly reciting positive affirmations for self-esteem can interrupt the incessant negative thoughts some kids have. This provides them with an opportunity to retrain and reprogram their brains to think more positive thoughts.
The more we say or think something, the more likely it is to become a hardwired belief. If we can get children to focus on their positive traits, then they are less likely to define themselves based on their negative self-talk.
4 Tips For Creating Affirmations For Self-Esteem with Children
Now that we have a better understanding about positive affirmations, here are some tips to ensure kids get the maximum benefit from using them:
- Keep affirmations positive. Instead of saying “I am not a bad friend,” a better option would be to say “I am a good friend.” When you say I’m not a bad friend, your brain needs more information to make the leap that you’re trying to affirm that you’re a good friend.
Remember, the brain is taking in a ton of information at lightening speed. Saying I’m not a bad friend doesn’t offer an alternative. Your brain doesn’t stop to interpret that the opposite (I’m a good friend) is what you mean.
Also, stating affirmations in the negative serves as a constant reminder of the negative behavior or circumstance you are trying to change. This can bring down your mood and kill your motivation to make changes.
- Write affirmations in the present tense. Everything happens in the present moment for the brain. It doesn’t communicate in future or past tense. For example if you’re worried about failing a test you have a month from now, you experience anxiety in the moment. You’re brain can’t tell that your concerns are about something in the future. It responds to your fearful thoughts as if you’re taking the test right now.
Have children state their affirmations as if they are happening now. “I am getting good grades” is more effective than saying “I will get good grades.” Additionally, stating their affirmations in the present tense gives them inspiration and motivation to work towards their goals.
- Keep affirmations short and to the point. This will make it easier for children to remember and practice their affirmations. When affirmations are too long, kids tend to spend too much time trying to memorize the affirmation instead of focusing on internalizing and truly believing the affirmation.
- Allow children to decide what affirmations they want to create. You can certainly guide them, but in the end you want them to take ownership of the process. This will make them more likely to commit to practicing their affirmations.
Once your child creates their affirmations, you want to make sure they practice them at least three times a day. The more consistent they are with this, the more likely they are to keep negative thinking at bay. Below are some ideas for how to use positive affirmations for self-esteem:
I have provided some free affirmations for self-esteem designed for younger children. This set includes 30 different positive affirmations for children.
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If you are looking for affirmations for self-esteem that older children can use, these positive affirmation cards for tweens and teens are available for purchase here. Adolescence can be a rough time for kids. Teaching them about positive affirmations will help them develop and maintain their self-confidence as they navigate their way through this turbulent developmental stage.