Be the change you wish to see in the world...

- Gandhi

Thursday, May 9, 2013

5 Ways To Foster Positive Thinking in Your Kids

"I am..." can be a life changing statement.  I started using affirmations a few years ago as a self empowerment tool.  If you are new to them, simply stated, they are the practice of positive thinking with the belief that continued focus on them will achieve success in anything.  Affirmations are carefully crafted statements that are repeated to one's self out loud and written down on paper (I put them up on my mirror, computer desktop, bulletin board, vision board...).  In repeatedly saying the affirmations, you embody the statement until it is.  They are extremely powerful and I have found them to be equally successful.  They are one of my favorite things in my good life tool box.

Louise Hay is my go-to girl for all things on affirmations (Check out her Power Thought Cards and corresponding iPhone app).  When I was attending one of her conferences last year, it struck me that my kids should join me in this practice too.

As moms, it is our job to encourage and praise our kids.  I believe confidence is one of the greatest gifts we can give our children.  Childhood and adolescence can be tough.  I have painfully emotional memories of elementary and middle school, where I was teased or heckled.  Kids can be mean.  I want my kids to have the confidence and knowledge that they are fantastic no matter what anyone else says to them.  I also want them to have the wisdom and assurance that they have the power to change any situation that comes to them.  Affirmations can do all of this and more.

Here are some ideas for putting affirmations into practice with kids:

Say it out loud - Before my kids go to bed at night, I have them come up with a series of I Am statements (I am fantastic.  I am unstoppable.  I am smart.).  They can say whatever they want, but it has to be something positive about themselves and they have to come up with it.  They say them out loud as we are snuggling.  It's the last thing they say before we go to bed.

Post it - During times when you notice your child struggling over something or feeling bad about themselves for a particular reason, have them write an affirmation on a post it note and put it on their bathroom mirror so they say it out loud whenever they see it.

Read - I Think, I Am! by Louise Hay is one of my favorite children's books about affirmations.  It explains what affirmations are in a kid friendly way and teaches them how to use them.  I highly recommend this book.  Dwayne Dyer also offers several great children's books on the subject.  I Am is a favorite of mine.  A quick search on Amazon reveals many others to choose from.

Write it down - Give your kids an affirmation journal.  This can be a regular three-ring notebook or something fancy.  The point is to give them a place to write down positive thoughts that they can repeat over and over again.  They can also use the journal to write about a thought, feeling, or situation they are struggling with that corresponds to the affirmation.

Be a model of affirmation - I believe one of the most effective ways to teach our kids is to have them catch us in the act of doing it ourselves.  I am hopeful that if my kids see me practicing affirmations that they also will want to do it.

Once you and your kids get started, I know you will find affirmations to be a lot of fun, and a valuable tool.  If you do, please let me know what you think.  I love feedback!