How to Encourage Positive Self-Talk for Kids

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My journey of discovering the power of positive self-talk started about a year ago. I heard a very charismatic woman speak about how she used positive self-talk to change her life and parenting. She challenged us to get out of our comfort zones and start using positive self-talk to choose our thoughts and change our mindsets — to be as positive and kind to ourselves as we are to others.

So I did it. I actually looked at myself in a mirror and said out loud to my reflection, “I am worthy, I am smart, I am a great mother and wife, I am confident, I am kind, I am creative, and I love myself.” I could barely get through it. It felt uncomfortable, awkward, and embarrassing. I was left with this terrible thought. When did this happen? As a child, I thought I was the coolest kid ever. When did my self-image turn from positive to negative?

My next thought was of my children. Would this happen to them, too?

Like most parents, I believe my kids are amazing, but do they think they are amazing? Do they feel like they are amazing? I decided it was my responsibly as a parent to foster a positive self-image for my children, and I could do it by giving them positive self-talk skills.

We started with a simple addition to our bedtime routine. After we tucked our son in, I would say, “Let’s do our nice things.” Then I would say, “I am awesome,” and my son would repeat those words out loud. So the last things he would hear before going to sleep would be all the “nice things.” We would say things like, “I am brave, smart, funny, silly, friendly, kind, a good big brother, incredible, a good listener, fast, strong, unique, marvelous, stupendous, superb, different.” When my son and daughter started sharing a room due to baby brother’s arrival, my daughter wanted her nice things, too.

My children really got attached to their “nice things.” My son would ask for “20 nice things” every night, and we would count them down on our fingers. It felt wonderful to hear my children say all these descriptions of themselves, and I was happy to end our day in such a beautiful way. It is not easy raising three kids. We have tough days just like every other family. However, we end every day with our children the same way.

We end it with love.

I am happy to be helping my children to see all the fantastic things about themselves that I see in them.

On my son’s birthday last year, my super amazing sister-in-law made him a “nice things” book on Shutterfly with pictures of him. We were blown away and in tears. It was powerful and very special. My daughter got her own book for Christmas and was very excited.

Since we started implementing and encouraging positive self-talk with our children, I have recommitted to doing my own positive self-talk. It will only grow me and make me better. If I expect the kids to do it, then I better do it, too.

To learn more about positive self-talk, check out the book “What to Say When You Talk to Yourself” by Shad Helmstetter. I also love the children’s book “I like Myself” by Karen Beaumont.

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Leah is a Massachusetts native who grew up in the MetroWest area. She met her husband in 2006 and they bonded over all things Boston. After moving to North Carolina for 4 years, they realized they had to move back to New England. (love that dirty water!) In 2011 they welcomed a son into their family. Then 2014, 1 week before having their daughter, their son was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. The last but not least little guy came in 2017. With three kids and special needs in their life, they rely on an amazing support system of friends and family. Leah is a stay at home mom, who is also growing a small business, and enjoying the independence and freedom it has given her. Loves: Great food (mostly made by her talented husband), playing with the kids, the beach, date nights, The Pats, The Sox, The B’s, new socks and bras, and American history, and movies. Can’t stand: Cotton balls, weeds, broken crayons, pollen, and vacuuming up Cheerios every half hour.

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