Did you grow up learning about positive self talk? I didn't. As little girls in the 80's and 90's, we were not taught to be empowered and confident. Adults focused on teaching us to be humble, not to take up too much space, and not to brag. Awareness and teaching of positive self talk for kids has only recently come into the spotlight.
Social media these days bombards kids with picture perfect images of what life should look like, and studies have shown that children, particularly pre-teens and teens, have become more self conscious and less confident (read more here). Often social media is being used a measure of their like-ability or popularity and effects their self worth. Even at a young age, we need to encourage positive self worth and self esteem building activities.
Although I usually share early literacy and math activities, I firmly believe in teaching the whole child. Children can only learn when their needs are being met emotionally, and if a child is experiencing something emotionally heightened, they may have trouble learning something new until those emotions are addressed.
When we build kids' confidence they feel more ready to take on challenges and deal with issues that arise. For example, a coping skill I have observed even in very young kids is positive self talk to help get through a tough situation. This can be anything from saying to oneself, "I'm a big kid! I can do it," to "I won't give up."
Most recently my friend told me her two year old was talking to himself encouragingly before bedtime in a new place, and he built his own confidence to get through an unknown and scary thing for him.
When confidence is low, kids are less likely to learn. By teaching kids how to use affirmation statements and see the positive things about themselves, we will increase their confidence and their ability to take on new, difficult tasks at home and in the classroom.
I use Confidence Cookies with my own children and the members of The Fun Club to teach about positive self-talk. In this activity our children are encouraged to see themselves in a positive light and speak about themselves positively out loud to us. Not only do I have all the kids do this activity, I also advise ALL adults doing the activity to participate!
When a parent or caretaker participates in positive self-talk, that is modeling the skill for the child, and the adults who care for us are our most important influences.
If your child sees yourself speaking positively, gently, and kindly about your own self; then they're more likely to do the same for themselves. The same is true if they hear you putting yourself down or speaking in a self-deprecating manner. Be mindful of what you say when you think they're not listening!
Keep the confidence cookies in the kitchen in a jar on the table. When you sit down at the table before a meal, have someone pick a confidence cookie from the jar. Everyone at the table has to answer the question. Your kids can even make their own cookies and add them to the jar for even more prompts. Incorporating positive self talk into your day is a process, not just a one time thing, so keep using those Confidence Cookies!
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