“Of all the people on the planet, you talk to yourself more than anyone. Make sure you are saying the right things.” – Harvey Smith
According to growkidsminds.com, we talk to ourselves more than all other conversations combined. Self-talk makes up 80% of all of our communication! Self-talk is your internal dialog. It can be both negative and positive. What you say to yourself and how you say it matters. It influences how you feel and what you do. Positive self-talk is often a coping strategy we teach children (and adults) in therapy to decrease anxiety and depression and improve overall mood. Research has shown positive self-talk has many benefits including:
- Reduces stress
- Improves self-esteem
- Increases motivation
- Inspires productivity
- Improves mental health
- Reduces Anxiety
- Improves immune function
- Builds self-confidence
- Increases attention and focus
- Improves physical health
All good things we want for our kids, right?
So how do we, as parents and supportive adults, teach our children positive self-talk?
1). The first step in teaching positive self-talk is to help kids recognize their own internal dialog and then determine whether it is positive or negative. Encourage your child to share the thoughts they have throughout the day. It is often easier to recognize negativity, but point out to them when they are using both positive and negative thoughts. For some children, this running dialog in their head isn’t something they have noticed or focused their attention on before.
2). The next step is to teach your child some standard positive self-talk statements they can use such as “I can do it” or “I am going to try my best”. It is sometimes helpful to brainstorm a list of these statements. You can also search positive affirmations and find many to choose from. Practice saying these everyday. Right before bed or first thing in the morning are good times to practice them.
3). Help your child flip a negative thought into a positive one. For example, if they say “this is too hard, I can’t do it!” You might encourage them to say “This is really hard! I am going to keep trying.”
4). Model positive self-talk for you child. Everyone has rough days or difficult challenges. Showing your child how you think through those situations helps them learn how to do it too. For example, you may have had a conflict with a peer at work. You could say to your child “My co-worker was not very nice to me today. They are usually not like that. I think they may have been having a bad day but they shouldn’t have taken it out on me. I think tomorrow will be better.”
If you think you or your child could use additional support in developing their self-talk skills, you can contact us at (217) 203-2008.
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