How To Teach Kids to Engage in Positive Self-Talk

It’s common for children to fall back into negative self-talk when they’re faced with a particularly difficult challenge that they feel they can’t overcome. Feelings of doubt and self-depreciation start to arise and it can be hard to get rid of once the feelings kick in. 

When teaching them how to cope with negative and self-deprecating thoughts, it’s important to emphasize that these negative thoughts and feelings should be acknowledged and not erased but they should also reframe their thinking and focus on the positives that the situation brought on instead. 

Learning a new coping skill is not something that happens overnight. Training your brain to reframe thoughts especially can be quite the challenge. Here are ways you can teach your kids to get used to engaging in positive self-talk more often:

Create awareness

You can’t teach positive self-talk if your child isn’t aware that they’re engaging in negative self-talk or negative thoughts in the first place. Allow them to recognize these and teach them how to reframe them into something positive.

Make sure to engage in regular conversations

Regularly conversing with your child, not only about positive self-talk but also about their day, their feelings or if there’s anything currently troubling them can help turn positive self-talk into a practice or a habit.

Normalize recognizing and acknowledging their own strengths

It’s understandable to think doing this is bragging but knowing the things you excel at and owning them are important to building self-esteem and self-confidence.

Redirect the focus to your child’s effort 

There are some situations where the end result is disappointing and not what we expected. In cases like these, it’s important to praise the efforts your child put in instead of fixating on the result.

Be a role model for positive self-talk

Parents should also look at how they communicate with their children if they want to teach them how to engage in positive self-talk. Children learn by observing the behavior of those around them so it’s important to model positive self-talk in your own life.

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