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Teaching and demonstrating positive self talk for kids starting at a young age can help build self esteem and starts at home with parents or caretakers according to doctors like Dr. Fish from Brave Care: which operates modern primary and urgent care clinics for kids.
This post is published in collaboration with Brave Care. Thank you so much for your support!
Building Your Kids Self-Esteem from a Young Age
Growing up, I didn’t have much of a role model when it came to growing confidence and self esteem so after I brought my twins into the world I made a promise to myself that I wouldn’t let them grow up the same way.
Especially after I found out I was having a daughter.
The last thing I ever want them to feel is uncomfortable in their own skin, what they look like, or who they are.
My biggest hope is that they grow up believing that they are incredible and unique human beings who deserve the space they take up in this world.
Since making that decision I have done quite a bit of research and talking with friends who have older kiddos asking what they have noticed to help when it comes to encouraging positive self talk for kids. What I ended up finding was that the answer was the same across the board, just worded different ways.
And that was that it all starts at home.
Now, I have always struggled with my own self image, likely because of the environment I grew up in where not a single person was confident in who they were. So the thought of trying to be THE best example I could when it came down to glowing confidence for my kids scared me.
How was I supposed to make sure they were surrounded by positive influence when I was more than likely the worlds biggest self bully?
Something had to change.
The first thing I decided to do was stop vocalizing my insecurities or things I didn’t like about myself. I try my best to never say anything negative about myself in front of my kids, no matter how I am feeling on the inside.
If I am having a super tough time, I instead share with my kids that “mommy is having a hard time” and by being open about that my now three and a half year olds understand that we all have hard moments or days but that doesn’t limit our capabilities.
Next came the hardest part.
How would I begin to believe and love MYSELF so that I could add that level of influence into my kids lives?
Well, my journey started last year when I filed for a divorce from their father when I decided in order to build a safe and happy life for all of us that we needed to do so in separate homes. That right there is where my self love journey began.
Since then I have taken every ounce of my therapists advice and begun living for myself and my children. More than anything, I want to give my kids a happy mom, and I am constantly working on doing just that.
While working on my own personal development journey, however, I have picked up a few things that I do every single day to help encourage positive self image for my kids and I am listing them out here.
Examples of Things I Do Every Day to Encourage Positive Self Image
- keep negative opinions of myself TO myself (if you take anything away from this post, let that be it)
- vocalize good things about myself
- vocalize good things about them
- encourage them to try again & remind them that everyone messes up sometimes
- say affirmations to myself in the mirror & encourage them to join
- ask others to limit their negative comments around my kids or call them out when necessary
- let them dress however makes them feel best
- turn on shows that demonstrate and/or teach kids about positive self image and esteem (Daniel Tiger is a fave!)
- & turn negative things they say around into something happy (“I don’t like this dress” “What would make you feel happier in this dress?”)
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Positive Self Talk for Kids
As much as I can try, and have been trying, on my own to encourage positive self-talk for kids in my own home, I think it’s super important to get a professional’s view as well.
I recently got to know the team behind Brave Care, which has two pediatric primary and urgent care clinics located near me in Portland, Oregon—they’re really paving the way for a new experience when it comes to modern pediatric care.
Odds are if you are reading this post you already have kids and you’ve been to a traditional pediatric practice. Everything is pretty standard and exactly as you remember it from your own childhood, right? Maybe with a few new technological improvements but beyond that it is pretty much the same.
Brave Care goes the extra, extra mile by not only caring about the well-being of their adolescent patients and caregivers, but wanting to help create a safe and healthy home as a whole.
And no, I’m not just talking nutritionally.
I am talking physically, mentally, and emotionally.
One thing I absolutely adore about their practice is their commitment to the community as a whole. On their site, you will find a huge resource with blog posts covering an assortment of topics from “weird things about babies that are actually normal,” to “keeping kids active and engaged at home,” and even “easing medical visit anxiety for kids.”
They offer evidence based care and make sure to center every appointment around the needs of the patient, rather than a standard checklist that might not even apply to the reason for your visit.
One thing I absolutely adore about their practice is their commitment to the community as a whole. On their site, you will find a huge resource with blog posts covering an assortment of topics from “weird things about babies that are actually normal“, to “keeping kids active and engaged at home“, and even “easing medical visit anxiety for kids“.
When talking with the team, Dr. Fish was kind enough to share some ways with me about working on positive self-talk with kids so that I could share the tips with you today. Here are some of the ideas Dr. Fish of Brave Care shared!
Ideas for Working on Positive Self Talk for Kids
- Keep in mind that kids are perceptive. Any parent will tell you that kiddos, even from a young age, can pick up on when parents are happy, sad, upset, or stressed. The social smile (when a child smiles in response to someone smiling at them) develops at 2 months of age!
- What we say is as important as how we say it
- Positive self talk needs to focus on, well, positivity and conveyed in a way that is supportive (think of a situation where a parent would be disappointed in a childs athletic performance telling them they did a good job in a half hearted way vs. supporting them with uplifting words)
- Try to remove negative language as much as possible if situationally appropriate (a child about to step into traffic might receive a sharp “NO!” from a parent–appropriate in this case)
- For other instances, try to suggest what the child can do instead, “lets play with this toy instead of trying to climb into the garbage can”
- Model behavior you want your children to follow. How’s your self talk parents/caregivers? Are you modeling positive self-communication or are you down on yourself. Kiddos will model what they’re taught, so it’s important to be a good teacher
- Remember to focus on positivity around things like body image, not just achievements
- Focus on strengths and lift those up, and don’t frame areas where your child doesn’t excel as weaknesses, frame them as opportunities to get better and reinforce the idea that we don’t get to have all the gifts. Each of us have our own unique gifts and other areas for improvement
- Sometimes it’s not about talk, it’s about action. An interesting study was done on adolescent rugby players and found that simply being responsive to the child’s needs and desires and parental drive to seek out what their child needs from them and asking about how the child feels about the parent support is positively associated with self esteem in the child and therefore more likely to promote positive self talk vs negative
I hope this post was packed with enough ideas for working on positive self talk for kids that you’re leaving with some fresh ideas to introduce into your own home!