Updated: Aug 22, 2021
The girl you see above is my daughter Harmoni. Everyday before school, I teach her to say positive things about herself such as, "I am a big girl. I am pretty. I am smart." I recently started having her hold a mirror each day and say positive things about herself in the mirror. Many ideas are probably going off in your mind as to why I would do this with my 3 year old daughter. This blog is all about the benefits and importance of teaching positive self-talk and positive self-image at a young age.
As an adult, do you ever find yourself struggling to think of positive things to say about yourself? It may be easy as long as things are going good, right? What about those moments when you are struggling or things in life are not going the way we think they should? Did you know kids have this same struggle? Yup...they do, and some of you are even able to think of times your student has struggled with being positive about themselves. Kids often don't know how to manage these feelings or emotions unless we teach it to them. Let's learn how we can help our students!
(And, please don't feel bad if you have ever had these thoughts, that is why I wrote this blog, we are human!)
"My student is too young to even have feelings."
"Even if I tried, I could never get my student to think positive."
"I struggle with being positive, so I doubt I will be able to help my student with this."
"Teaching my student to be positive is not going to help them with life."
"My student is struggling so much in life right now, and I am loosing all hope."
Why should I teach my student to have a positive mindset?
(There are so many reasons why, but here goes some top reasons why.)
Builds confidence, which helps students with school and also helps students reach their goals.
Helps students tackle life's challenges at a young age.
Allows students to thrive in social settings, especially when kids may say negative things about them, bully them, or if they began to have the thought that they don't fit in. It also effects how they communicate and interact with other people.
Positivity is a HUGE boost to a child's physical, mental, and spiritual health.
It allows students to be happy and keep healthy relationships, while also having the ability to notice unhealthy relationships.
As students get older, positivity helps them be able to confront problems and resist peer pressure....what a relief!
And let's face it, the world we live in is very negative. Kids need to be able to know how to see the "good" even in the midst of negativity. This will help them function properly in such a chaotic world!
How can I implement positive self-image/talk with my student at home?
(Before mentioning any ideas, I want to emphasize that consistency is KEY! Pick out days and times with your student(s) each week for this and STICK TO IT! There are so many ideas for this..but I will name my top 5.)
1. Mirror "A reflection of me": Have your student look in the mirror and think of positive things to say about themselves, or something well they did for the day.
2. Share time: Have your student share with you negative thoughts or experiences they had for the day and question them on ways they can view the positive or see the good in the situation.
3. Gratitude Journal: Have a journal for students to write down each day things they are thankful for about themselves or something they really like about themselves for that day. For younger students who have not quite got the hang of writing, have them draw this.
4. Sticky Note Collage: Dollar Tree is the perfect place to purchase the 3 things you need for this idea, which is a poster board, thumbtacks, and sticky notes. Each day have students write or draw something they are thankful for related to themselves or something they like about themselves. Watch their faces light up as they see their collage growing each day!
5. Movies/Videos: There are sooo many kid movies and even Youtube videos that express positive self-image and self-talk. Watching movies and videos together as a "family movie/video night" is a great way to help students view positivity in a FUN way! Here are some recommendations: Wonder, Toy Story 2, The Princess & the Frog, Cinderella, How the Grinch Stole Christmas
Ok great...but how can I introduce this concept of positive thinking to my student?
Teach them to think of it this way, "Positive thinking is like a SPORT!" How? It's something you have to continue to practice and train your brain to get better at...and you will also have some good days and not so good days, but it's some good to see in each day, just like sports!
I am a strong believer that we can all learn and become more aware through each other's unique thoughts and experiences! Comment below your thoughts on these 2 questions:
What strategy do you want to try implementing at home first?
What are other benefits or ideas you have on this topic?
*For any questions, recommendations, or resources around this topic, please feel free to email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org