A young child and loved one smiling during a positive activity.

“I am Strong” – Using Positive Affirmations To Fuel a Child’s Mental Health

It’s natural to want the best for our children and ensure they are always happy and healthy. But, as their lives become increasingly complex, there are often times when they need a bit of extra support.

One way to help improve your child’s mental health is through positive affirmations – an effective tool that can be used to cultivate self-esteem in children while also creating strong social bonds and improving mental health.

How Do Positive Affirmations Impact Your Child?

Have you ever thought to yourself, “I can do this. I can do this,” while facing a challenge? That’s a positive affirmation. It helps give you strength, and in turn, using positive affirmations with your children gives them strength, too.

We all want the best for our children’s overall health and well-being. Positive affirmations are simple statements that challenge negative thoughts and replace them with positive ones. And, encouraging your child to practice positive affirmations every day can greatly benefit their mental health.

Even more, positive thoughts help other areas of our lives, as well.

By focusing on the positive, your child’s mental well-being reduces stress, anxiety, and negative thoughts, which fosters feelings of self-love, confidence, and resilience. Empower your child to take control of their mental health by introducing them to the power of positive affirmations!

Improving Physical Health with Positivity

Empowering your child can help their physical health improve, too. A sense of self-worth leads to healthy habits in child development. When your child feels their best, self-care can lead to healthier eating, practicing good hygiene habits and exercising regularly while moving into adolescence.

Using Affirmations for Children’s Mental Health

If diagnosed with a mental health disorder by a mental health professional or pediatric doctor, positive reinforcement can help your child as they continue to develop.

Mental health conditions lead to negative or distorted perceptions that your child may have of themselves or others. Positive reinforcement can be introduced while working in tandem with professional help for the following diagnoses:

  • Eating disorders
  • Attention deficit (ADHD)
  • Anxiety

An easy way to introduce positive affirmations is during your child’s playtime, whether it’s one-on-one or with other children. (I am creative; I am kind and fun.) This approach can build confidence, help them overcome social anxiety, develop social skills and promote empathy and understanding.

Create Positive Affirmations That are Specific and Achievable

When creating affirmations related to good mental health, it’s important to start with a healthy way of framing your affirmations, avoiding negative language or self-criticism. Specific and achievable goals are key – instead of simply saying “I am smart,” try “I am growing my knowledge every day.”

Examples of Direct Affirmations

There are an endless number of affirmations you can incorporate into your child’s daily routine. The best part is that you and your child can tailor affirmations to fit your child’s needs.

  • I am loved and supported by my family and friends.
  • I believe in myself and I can overcome challenges.
  • I am kind and friendly.
  • I learn something new every day.
  • I am unique and my traits make me valuable.

From young children to teens, positive affirmations can be used throughout your child’s life, helping to address mental illness, physical disabilities or psychiatry health care needs.

Remember to be patient and realistic in your goals, as well as framing any affirmations in the present tense. Include your child’s loved ones, too. Family members, role models, and caregivers can be helpful by using reassurance in creating effective affirmations. By staying specific and achievable, you can build a foundation of positive self-talk that fully supports your child’s mental well-being.

Help Your Child’s Mental Health by Reframing Negative Thoughts

It’s crucial to pay attention to your child’s mental health from an early age in order to help them develop coping skills for life. Negative thoughts creep up on everyone, especially young children and teens. Common triggers are failure, rejection, or feeling overwhelmed.

To improve your kid’s mental health, encourage them to re-frame their negative thoughts into positive ones. For instance, instead of thinking, “I’m not good at math,” help them see that they have room to improve and can seek help from a teacher or tutor. While they are receiving additional help, teach them to say, “I learn and grow my math skills every single day.”

This type of shift in mindset empowers your child to feel more confident and capable. By teaching them how to re-frame their negative thoughts, you are equipping them with an important tool to handle tough situations and improve their overall well-being. This is especially important as they enter adolescence and adulthood, when many changes happen (seemingly) at once.

Reward Positive Behavior

Especially when they’re young, your child can benefit from rewards in addition to affirmations. It doesn’t have to be a gift for positive behavior – it can be a high five, hug or praise for a job well done. These are called social rewards, as defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (cdc.gov).

Social rewards are especially important when your child is a toddler or preschooler. As they grow, you can keep track of your child’s behavior with a chart that they can follow along with.

Meridian HealthCare: A Resource for Your Child’s Mental Health

There’s no doubt that positive affirmations can improve your child’s mental health. Whether you introduce affirmations at the first signs of mental health issues or just out of wanting to establish a proactive approach for dealing with everyday stressors, you can’t go wrong!

For parents or loved ones seeking additional support, Meridian HealthCare offers children’s mental health and wellness services that cover (but aren’t limited to) healthy relationships, bullying, peer pressure, and more. Give us a call for questions regarding our youth support services today.