Empower Your Children With These 101 Expert-Approved Affirmations
When we think about visualizing and manifesting what we desire, one of the most simple and powerful tools at our disposal is the almighty affirmation. Repeating quick, positive statements to ourselves can go a long way for boosting overall feelings of positivity1. When it comes to children, the same rules apply.
Here's how and why to introduce affirmations to your children, along with 101 powerful ones to have them try first.
What are affirmations?
Saying affirmations is a way to practice positive thinking. It usually calls for repeating positive declarations about yourself or your experience.
The idea is to start getting yourself in a mindset where you can catch negative thoughts happening and meet them with positive ones. Eventually, you'll start to believe more of the good things you say about yourself and embody them in real-time.
Benefits of affirmations for kids:
For children, affirmations can be just as useful as they are for adults. Social development and challenges in school are tough on a child, so it's important they learn how to combat negative thoughts about themselves and build resiliency.
As licensed psychotherapist Annette Nunez, M.S., Ph.D., tells mbg, "If we can teach a child how to start thinking positively at a young age, it changes how children view their world and also helps with their inner dialogue. If we don't work on that from a young age, we start thinking negatively."
And as author and mental health expert Aline Milfort, M.S., MHS, adds, "Affirmations provide confidence and lead to motivation. They also teach the child how to implement those affirmations when something negative happens, even when their parent isn't around."
How to use them:
To get started using affirmations with your child, Nunez says that affirmation cards can be effective. Together, you could DIY your own cards after brainstorming a few affirmations that feel helpful and relevant.
"When I introduce them, I have a deck and they pick out a card, and we focus on that card for a day," she explains. "For example, I believe in myself. We process what that means, and that will be our mantra for today."
Milfort recommends practicing the affirmations in front of the mirror, noting "what they start to repeat, they will begin to believe and see."
You can remind your child of their affirmation by placing the card on the fridge or in their room, and pointing it out if you catch them in a moment when they might need to use their affirmation.
"When they're older," Nunez adds, "you can discuss more deeply what an affirmation is and what is positive for them. Having them participate in that dialogue is really important."
101 affirmations to try:
When it comes to affirmations for kids, the simpler the better. A good rule of thumb is to keep them short; no longer than five words or so.
Milfort notes you can come up with affirmations that are specific to what your child is doing (such as, I can finish this homework) or more general to everyday life.
The following affirmations are appropriate for young children, preschool to early elementary age. As your child gets older and can conceptualize deeper and longer affirmations, you can help them come up with some more:
- I love myself.
- I am happy.
- I am great.
- I am doing the best I can.
- I am calm.
- I believe in myself.
- I matter.
- I am smart.
- I am lovable.
- I can do it.
- I am strong.
- I am positive.
- I am confident.
- My mistakes help me learn.
- I am beautiful.
- I can do math.
- I can do this assignment.
- I am motivated.
- I can read.
- I can do this homework.
- I can be whatever I want to be.
- I am enough.
- I stand up for myself.
- I have everything I need.
- I am loved.
- My life is blessed.
- I make a difference.
- I love myself.
- I am a good friend.
- I am a good brother/sister.
- I am important.
- I am always growing.
- My dreams will come true.
- I am peaceful.
- I am honest.
- I tell the truth.
- I care about my family.
- I care about my friends.
- I care about the Earth.
- I share with others.
- I respect others.
- I am mindful.
- My feelings are important.
- I have great ideas.
- I am safe.
- I am talented.
- I love trying new things.
- I can handle anything.
- I am proud of myself.
- I make good decisions.
- I am responsible.
- I am trustworthy.
- I can get through anything.
- I am supported.
- I support my friends.
- I set a good example.
- I always look for the positive.
- I choose happiness.
- I overcome challenges.
- I am unique.
- I am grateful to be me.
- I love being alive.
- I am fun.
- I know when to ask for help.
- I set boundaries.
- I respect other's boundaries.
- My thoughts matter.
- I respect other people's opinions.
- I love helping people.
- I am nice even when it feels hard.
- I choose my words with kindness.
- I can try again if I don't get it right the first time.
- I stand up for my friends when they need help.
- I own up to my mistakes.
- I listen to my conscience.
- I trust my gut.
- I am generous.
- I say nice things about other people.
- I am forgiving.
- The universe is on my side.
- I know it's OK to be upset.
- I can stay calm when I'm upset.
- I listen to my feelings.
- I am curious.
- I include others.
- I can face my fears.
- I am open minded.
- I know it's OK to be different.
- I accept people who are different from me.
- I am my own biggest cheerleader.
- I am healthy.
- I take care of my body and mind.
- I am going to have a great day.
- I can turn bad days around.
- My brain is powerful.
- I am joyful.
- My voice matters.
- I can solve hard problems.
- I am always getting better.
- I can be a leader.
- I will reach my goals.
Other ways to help your children cope with emotions:
Create a safe space.
For children to feel comfortable expressing and working through big emotions, Milfort and Nunez both note a safe space is essential. They need to know it's OK to feel how they're feeling, and further, it's OK to talk about it. If they don't know how to express their feelings verbally, having them draw how they feel is one good option.
Encourage expression through play.
Play therapy is a popular tool used by child psychologists to help children get comfortable expressing themselves. "A lot of times children are more comfortable talking about how they feel by playing with a doll or their favorite character," Milfort says.
This goes along with creating a safe space but adds an extra element where the child can use a toy or doll to mimic themselves, often revealing how they're feeling.
Show them how to identify emotions (especially positive ones).
And lastly, Nunez notes that parents often highlight a child's negative emotions, when it's important to focus on the positive, too.
"When you see your child is having a joyful experience or they're happy," she says, "ask them how they feel in that moment. If they can't explain why, you can model it for them." For example, you could say something like, I see you're happy because we're playing this game.
This will help them grow up to recognize when they're feeling good (a skill we could all use!).
The bottom line.
Every parent wants to see their child grow up happy, confident, and in touch with their emotions. Affirmations are a simple and effective tool to help them do so. Children can take affirmations with them for the rest of their lives and use them on the path to becoming resilient, empowered adults.
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Sarah Regan is a Spirituality & Relationships Writer, as well as a registered yoga instructor. She received her bachelor's in broadcasting and mass communication from SUNY Oswego, and lives in Buffalo, New York.