A child's mental health is just as important as their physical health. If you want to foster happiness and well-being in your kid, consider teaching them some positive affirmations. These are generally short phrases or statements, positive in nature, that people repeat to themselves, explains Marilou G. Tablang-Jimenez, M.D., DFAPA, chair of the Addiction and Mental Health Center at MedStar Montgomery Medical Center.
"Regular repetition of them can encourage your brain to take them as facts, believing you can do something and creating a positive mindset that can help you to accomplish your goals," Dr. Tablang-Jimenez says. And just like adults, children can use positive affirmations in all sorts of ways. "Children may want to say their affirmations silently to themselves, visualize them, say them out loud in front of a mirror, or maybe even write them down," she says.
Positive affirmations are especially important for children because they enhance their ability to cope and live fully. "When children use positive phrases about themselves, it helps shape and strengthen their own inner voice that will be with them a lifetime," says Kelly Oriard, co-founder of Slumberkins and licensed family therapist. "Saying an affirmation like 'I am brave, I am kind' and repeating it can soon become a child's reality."
The best thing parents can do when teaching their children about positive affirmations is to model the practice themselves. "We learn so much from our parents," says Howard Pratt, DO, a child and adolescent psychiatrist at Community Health of South Florida. "Most of us don't realize that kids are constant sponges. If they see Mom or Dad doing something, it becomes normal. And if it's something that is normal, then it's something that they will continue."
Keep reading to learn 35 positive affirmations for kids.
Motivational Positive Affirmations for Kids
- I am a hard worker.
- I can do hard things.
- I can do whatever I set my mind to.
- I can think of great ideas.
- I can get through anything.
Motivational positive affirmations help children face challenges. "Sometimes children lose motivation if things feel too hard, and they just end up saying 'I can't,'" Oriard says. "Giving children permission to ask for help and encouraging them to eventually try things on their own can be so motivating and help children move from 'I can't' to 'I can try.'"
There's also power in teaching kids to use the word, "yet," Dr. Tablang-Jimenez adds. She recommends parents encourage their children to say "I can't do that, yet" instead of "I can't do that."
Positive Affirmations About Love and Appreciation
- I deserve to be loved.
- I have people who love and respect me.
- I am grateful for who I am.
- I am worthy of love.
- I choose love over fear.
These positive affirmations help children access feelings of love and appreciation for the world around them. "Helping our children build the neural pathways for love, appreciation, and gratitude is a gift we can offer them through teaching and practicing these affirmations," Oriard says.
Positive Affirmations for Teens
- I am enough.
- I do not have to change myself to be enough.
- I am important and my presence is important to myself and to others.
- I believe in myself and in what I am capable of doing.
- I am a good friend.
Positive affirmations can help teenagers thrive through challenging times. "We all know that teenage years can be some of the hardest, so positive affirmations are really important for this age range to again build confidence and encourage a positive mindset and outlook," Dr. Tablang-Jimenez says.
Body Positive Affirmations
- I accept myself for who I am.
- I am beautiful inside and out.
- I only compare myself to myself.
- There is no one better to be than myself.
- I am unique and special.
These affirmations can help children develop a positive self-image. "We get bombarded at a young age of what we're expected to look like," Dr. Pratt says. "But the fact is you are who you are, you are changing, you are beautiful, you are fine the way that you are, and there isn't anything to say otherwise. And it's really important for kids to believe and understand that."
If your child is having difficulties with loving a specific part of their body, Oriard suggests making up a specific affirmation just for them. "Have the child draw a picture of their body part and write a thank you message to it," she says. "You can take parts of the thank you note to make a simple affirmation to repeat to help them remember the amazing and helpful things that their bodies do."
Positive Morning Affirmations
- Today will be great.
- Today, I will try my best.
- My best is enough.
- I feel healthy and strong today.
- I am thankful for _____.
By reciting these phrases, children can look forward to the day ahead. "They set the tone," Dr. Pratt says, explaining that just as daily morning rituals like brushing your teeth and making your bed add structure and routine to the morning, so do positive morning affirmations.
Positive Affirmations for Anxiety
- It's okay if I make mistakes.
- I am safe.
- I am capable.
- I get better every single day.
- I'm able to beat this.
Want to combat anxious thoughts? Have your child try these positive affirmations. "Those who suffer from anxiety, and the negative feelings that often accompany anxiety, can use positive affirmations to counter those feelings and reset their mood," Dr. Tablang-Jimenez says.
Self Confidence Positive Affirmations
- I am smart.
- I am caring.
- I am courageous.
- I am important.
- I matter.
"All people have moments of not feeling great about themselves, whether we mess something up, or someone says something that hurts our feelings," Oriard says. By using these affirmations, children are reminded that they are wonderful just the way they are.