The world can be a wondrous place, but we all need some support from time to time. For kids, some of that support can come from adults and other children. But a child’s inner voice and core beliefs can also be a source of strength.
As a parent or caregiver, one of the best ways you can reinforce your child’s inner support system is through positive affirmations.
So, why are affirmations important? It all ties into how we view the world around us.1 When the beliefs we hold about ourselves are positive, they can change the way we experience situations. Introducing positive affirmations into your child’s routine may help them feel safer, happier, and more secure, even in an ever-changing world.
What Are Affirmations?
Affirmations are positive statements that you direct at yourself. Practicing positive affirmations can help you cope with negative or unhelpful thoughts and welcome curiosity about these feelings instead of pushing them away. They can also help you to view the world through a more positive lens, even when bad things happen.
Affirmations don’t have to be complicated. In fact, sometimes, the most helpful affirmations are quite simple and easy to remember. When teaching them to children, affirmations should be something they can easily understand and apply. Some simple examples might include:2
- I am smart
- I am focused
- I am brave
- I am strong
Different affirmations might work better for different children. A child who needs some support with self-esteem might benefit from the powerful affirmation, “The world is better because I am here.” Or, a kid who needs a little boost when dealing with a new environment or situation could use the daily affirmation, “I can try new things.”
What Can You Use Affirmations for?
You don’t need to have a specific problem or be going through a rough patch to use positive affirmations. Using positive affirmations every day can help kids build positive thinking patterns and core beliefs at any time.1 But when a situation does arise, having practiced those affirmations can help kids take on the day with the help of their positive inner voice.
The positive language used in affirmations can be used by both children and adults to:
- Motivate yourself to do something challenging
- Help you cope with challenges and changes
- Boost your self-esteem, mood, and attitude
- Combat negative beliefs about yourself or your abilities
- Help bring about positive changes in your life
How Do Affirmations Work?
If you’re curious about how affirmations work, you might be wondering if there is actual science to support how affirmations can help us.
The answer is yes. Research supports the idea that affirmations can bring about positive effects. One social psychology theory centered around the benefits of positive affirmations is the self-affirmation theory.3
This theory contains three key principles related to affirmations, including:
- Self-identity – The use of affirmations can help us tell a story about ourselves. If we consistently tell ourselves that we are smart, this positive thought becomes the narrative that we believe is true. This, in turn, helps us to take actions that reinforce this narrative, essentially becoming what we believe we are.
- Self-efficacy – The self-affirmation theory also shows that we have to believe that we can do something before we actually do it. Affirmations help stir our consciousness and awaken us to the idea that we can do or be something better. Self-efficacy reinforces the possibility of improvement and growth by reminding us that we have control over our actions and behaviors.
- Self-integrity – Finally, the self-affirmation theory touches on our desire to be good. We want to believe that we are moral and capable of making the right decisions, even in challenging situations. This sense of self-integrity can motivate us to choose the moral option while also giving us confidence that we are capable of doing so.
These components work together to form the self-affirmation theory. When we use positive affirmations or introduce them into our children’s routines, we create a framework for personal growth and development.
Why Are Positive Affirmations Important for Kids?
It could be challenging for kids to understand concepts like self-identity, self-efficacy, and self-integrity. But this doesn’t mean that even very young children can’t benefit from affirmations.
In fact, helping children to build positive beliefs about themselves early on can influence them on an emotional level throughout their lives.1 Starting a positive affirmation habit while your child is young may help them grow into more confident, self-sufficient individuals.
But it’s not only about the future—developing positive core beliefs could influence a child’s life now. Let’s examine some of the benefits of affirmations for kids.
#1: Affirmations Can Help Kids Have a More Positive Self-Image
First, daily positive affirmations may help your child develop a more positive self-image and help prevent negative thought patterns. Think about how many factors in our lives are impacted by how we see ourselves. Our self perception influences how we:
- Learn at school
- Interact with our peers
- Build new relationships
- Set goals
- Take healthy risks
When our self-image is positive, we’re more likely to set goals for ourselves or try new things. We may feel encouraged to build healthy relationships and steer away from relationships that aren’t good for us.
Children who learn how to use daily affirmations at a young age gain valuable practice in building a positive self image. This skill can benefit your little one throughout their life.
If you’re looking for positive statements you can use to help your child embrace a more positive self-image of themselves, give Slumberkins' Bigfoot affirmation a try: I am kind. I am strong. I am brave and unique.
#2: They May Encourage Kids to Tackle Challenges
We all try to avoid challenges at times, especially when the alternative seems difficult, stressful, or presents the possibility of failure. We may even do this when we know the tougher path is better for us. Children can need extra encouragement to tackle necessary challenges, as they may lack the ability to understand that sometimes difficult tasks are good for us.
Positive self-affirmations are one way you can help encourage your child to tackle challenging situations rather than resist them.5 Some situations where a positive affirmation may help your little one embrace bravery and believe in themselves include:
- The first day at a new school
- Trying new foods for the first time
- Tackling a new sport
- Meeting new people and starting a conversation
- Asking a teacher for help on a tricky assignment
- Going to the doctor for a check-up
When children acknowledge that a situation or challenge might be scary or difficult and back that up with a positive self-statement, they may be better equipped to handle it with confidence.
Next time your child is facing an obstacle or change, practice using an affirmation like Fox’s: If something is new, I can get through.
#3: Affirmations Might Promote a Growth Mindset
In a classroom setting, it’s only natural to have questions from time to time. But not all children are comfortable raising their hands and asking for help.
If your child doesn’t ask for clarification or more help when they need it, they’re more likely to find their work more challenging. Instead of taking on the challenge with support, they might assume they’re incapable of completing it. This is an example of a fixed mindset, which can limit their ability to succeed.6
With a growth mindset, however, children can handle challenging situations with a positive frame of mind. In addition to learning that it’s OK to ask for help, a growth mindset also teaches children that they can grow and learn new things,6 a concept that’s fundamental for young learners as they navigate their way through school and beyond.
Positive self-affirmations can help your little one maintain a growth mindset and stay motivated, even if they experience hurdles along the way. Teaching affirmations is a great way to adapt healthy parenting tactics.
Try practicing Narwhal’s growth mindset affirmation with your little one: If I see a problem, I can fix it.
#4: They Can Encourage Independence and Self-Efficacy
Finally, children who are introduced to the practice of positive self-affirmations may become more confident and independent. This is because when children practice self-affirmations, they can develop beliefs that:7
- They aren’t powerless and have some ability to control outcomes
- They can trust themselves to make good decisions
- They are worthy of love and affection from others
- They can do hard things and achieve success
- They are capable of working to become better at tasks
The belief that one isn’t powerless is an extremely important skill for all children to develop, as it can shape how they approach every aspect of their lives as they grow. Positive self-affirmations are a critical component of developing that skill.
There are many affirmations that can encourage your little one to feel confident and help build self-esteem. Consider adding a simple and effective statement to your morning routine at breakfast time or on the way to school, like Yak’s affirmation: I am enough just the way I am.
When Should Kids Practice Positive Affirmations?
Now that you know how beneficial positive affirmations can be for kids, let’s talk about when kids should practice them. Here are some key times you can help your kids use affirmations:8
- Start encouraging positive self-talk from a young age
- Practice repeating affirmations regularly
- Pay attention when your child is struggling with negative thoughts and help redirect them
- Post positive affirmations as reminders in places where your child will see them or choose a time each day to repeat your affirmations with them
- Talk to your kids daily about how they feel and incorporate positive self-talk into these discussions
Even children who are too young to read can benefit from positive daily affirmations. Instead of posting them where your child can read them, simply say them out loud so that your child hears the positive message and internalizes it.
Introduce Positive Affirmations with Slumberkins
Children who embrace a self-affirmation routine may experience better self-confidence, improved academic performance, and a healthier approach to tackling challenges. But affirmations aren’t a one-size-fits-all solution. To support your child in the unique challenges they face, you can mix and match the affirmations that suit them best at any given moment.
At Slumberkins, we know how important it is to boost your little one’s mental health and well-being. Our products are designed to provide comfort and encourage confidence building in your kids. From a cozy snuggler to our books about authenticity, we promote positive support to help build early childhood social-emotional learning skills, setting your child up for success as they grow older.
Shop our selection by creature or theme today to find the perfect match for your child.
"Shedding Light on Core Beliefs." Slumberkins. 22 April, 2022. https://slumberkins.com/blogs/slumberkins-blog/shedding-light-on-core-beliefs
Farrell, Grace. "Positive Affirmations and Their Effect on Children’s Moods in an Elementary Classroom." Journal of Student Research. 3 November, 2021. https://www.jsr.org/hs/index.php/path/article/view/1715
- Cascio, Christopher N et al. “Self-affirmation activates brain systems associated with self-related processing and reward and is reinforced by future orientation.” Social cognitive and affective neuroscience vol. 11,4 (2016): 621-9. doi:10.1093/scan/nsv136
"How to Use Positive Affirmations for Kids for Better Wellbeing." Ripple Kindness. https://ripplekindness.org/why-affirmations-are-important-for-children/
Hill, Zoelene et al. “Pride-Based Self-Affirmations and Parenting Programs.” Frontiers in psychology vol. 11 910. 23 Jun. 2020, doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2020.00910
Sauber Millacci, Tiffany. "How to Nurture a Growth Mindset in Kids: 8 Best Activities." Positive Pschycology. 29 December, 2021. https://positivepsychology.com/growth-mindset-for-kids/#definition
- Loos, Katie. "How Affirmations Can Support Your Child's Learning." US News. 30 June, 2021. https://www.usnews.com/education/k12/articles/affirmations-for-kids-how-parents-can-support-their-childs-learning
- Moore, Catherine. "Positive Daily Affirmations: Is There Science Behind It?" Positive Psychology. 4 March, 2019. https://positivepsychology.com/daily-affirmations/