We covered the importance of why how we speak to students matter in this post, but even more important than that is what students are saying to themselves. If we as educators and parents can teach students how to change their self-talk we will equip them with skills they can use for the rest of their lives. 

Can you imagine if you’d been taught positive self-talk when you were younger? How much thicker would your skin have been to handle the harsh words of others? Would your self-esteem and self-confidence been higher? 

Be careful how you are talking to yourself because you are listening. – Lisa M. Hayes

When we believe and continue to tell ourselves positive and uplifting words, we believe them more than we do when others say them to us. The words are stronger and more powerful when we are saying them to ourselves. 

So now we know why, lets talk about the how. How do we teach kids how to talk to themselves? This sounds a little crazy, but it is actually something many successful people do, its called affirmations. 

You may have heard of affirmations, or maybe you have not. Affirmations are defined as something that is affirmed; a statement that is declared to be true. They really are the power of positive thinking!

Students must be taught how to choose affirmation statements wisely. The most important thing is that the statement needs to be believable. If the student doesn’t believe it, then their mind will fight it and it won’t be as effective. You can, however, choose your wording to say “I am becoming…” something that you aren’t yet. 

Here is an example of how important phrasing is when using affirmations: Susie Student isn’t great at taking tests. She creates an affirmation “I am a great test taker!” to help her get better at taking tests. She reads her affirmation aloud before her tests but doesn’t see any improvement in her test scores and continues to be frustrated. Susie Student needs the support to understand that she doesn’t yet believe her affirmation, therefore she needs to revise it so that it is believable for the best results. A simple tweak such as “I am becoming a great test taker!” will be more effective because she believes in the possibility of becoming. By repeating this new affirmation aloud before tests she is affirming that she is becoming a great test taker, and therefore she will become great at test taking.

Affirmations can work for anything and everything. They work best when repeated often. Most experts will tell you to say affirmations first thing in the morning and last thing in the evening for best results. For even better results, read affirmations aloud every day. 

Our actions are inspired by our thoughts. If we can change the way we think, we can begin to change the actions we take. – Evelyn Lim

Have students think about areas they want to improve in. It could be learning math, being able to read, making friends, controlling emotions, trying new things, etc. Try to have students just focus on a few things at a time instead of trying to change everything at once. I suggest having maybe 3-5 at a time to keep it simple for students.

Want sample affirmations for students? You can grab the freebie by clicking here! 

What ideas do you have for incorporating affirmations in your classroom? Share in the comments below.

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