Whether we realize it or not, self-talk is almost always going on inside our heads. This is the voice that encourages us to work through a problem that seems too challenging in the moment. It’s the voice that calms us down when we’re upset. It’s even the voice that reminds us to continue loving ourselves despite of our biggest mistakes.
While it’s true that self-talk is important for people of all ages, I’m here to highlight how important it is for kids and teens specifically. Children’s brains are still growing and developing. Positive self-talk is the perfect opportunity for kids to remind themselves that they’re worthy of love, able to learn from mistakes, and capable of achieving their goals. Simply put, kids and teens need these reminders. There is no better way than teaching kids to be the ones that remind themselves, rather than it coming from an adult. If we want to empower kids and teens, we need to teach, practice, and model positive self-talk.
What are the benefits to teaching positive self-talk?
Some benefits to teaching and practicing positive self-talk with kids are teens include:
- Positive self-talk builds confidence. Phrases like “I am strong” and “My voice matters” can help kids feel confident and brave. This is an area that kids and teens could always use a boost in.
- Self-talk encourages learners to become independent problem-solvers. Whether we realize it or not, we use self-talk every day to work through problems and challenges. Teaching skills for positive self-talk can help kids stay solution-focused when dealing with a difficulty.
- Positive self-talk is a coping skill that can help manage stress and tough emotions. In many ways, positive self-talk is one of the very best coping skills because it’s something kids and teens can “carry” with them wherever they go.
- Self-talk can be a mindful start to the day. Phrases like “Today is a new day” and “Every day is a fresh start” can help kids and teens have a positive, calm, and mindful start to the morning.
- Positive self-talk is the antidote for negative self-talk. Learning skills for positive self-talk helps kids recognize their negative thoughts and reframe them.
How can positive self-talk be taught?
Model positive self-talk. Kids and teens need to constantly hear positive self-talk to internationalize it. Say positive affirmations out loud on a regular basis, such as, “Today is a fresh start,” first thing in the morning or “I can do this,” when a challenges comes up.
Make positive self-talk a morning ritual. Have kids choose their favorite positive self-talk statements. This makes it individualized for them! List out out and have students read them to themselves every morning.
Use literature. Practice positive self-talk by stopping and thinking what a character might say to themselves throughout a story.
Use a positive self-talk journal. Make learning positive self-talk fun and engaging with a daily positive self-talk journal. This journal includes practice with positive affirmations, creating your own self-talk statements, explaining self-talk, and reframing negative thoughts.
Below you’ll find 10 positive self-talk statements that every kid should know! Note that I’ve written them address to kids and teens. This is so that you can read them with your learners to practice and discuss them together!
If you love these phrases and would like them as a poster, you can grab them as a free printable poster here!
10 Positive Self-Talk Phrases Every Learner Should Know:
Every day is a fresh start.
Starting fresh every day is a critical component for personal success. We all need a fresh start from the challenges and difficulties of yesterday. No matter what happened the day before, today can be a new start for you. This is a great self-talk statement to start each morning with.
I am a work in progress.
As humans, we are all growing and changing every day. You’re not perfect, and that’s not only okay, but it’s great! You are a masterpiece and a work in progress all at the very same time.
Challenges help me grow.
Challenges can seem scary or daunting at first, but they are also a fantastic opportunity! Sometimes feeling overwhelmed with a challenge can impact our ability to even start a task. It helps to reframe this by thinking about how challenges help us grow, learn, and be better! Use this phrase to help propel you to face your challenge and work towards your goals.
It’s okay to feel how I feel.
All emotions are natural and normal. Sometimes, you might have a sense that a certain feeling is “bad,” but it’s important to remember that all of these emotions are just part of the human experience. Embrace feelings by accepting that it is okay to feel however you are feeling. This is an important step in coping with those emotions most effectively. Give this one a try the next time you feel frustrated, sad, worried, or confused.
I’m in charge of my choices.
Every choice you make is yours. Just remembering that you are in charge of your decisions can help give you the power to make great ones. Say this phrase to yourself before you make choices in your life, whether it’s a big decision or a small one.
I am grateful for what I have.
Gratitude turns what we have in to enough. It’s a critical coping strategy and technique to help us feel grounded. Try using this phrase and listing off a few things you are grateful for in your life.
I am enough.
There is no such thing as perfect! It’s important to appreciate and love yourself for who you are in the moment. Growing and learning is great (of course), but it’s critical to know you are absolutely enough the way you are right now.
My voice matters.
Your ideas, thoughts, and opinions matter. You have valuable information to share with your friends, family, classmates, and the entire world. Use this phrase to remind yourself that it’s okay to speak your mind and say what you feel.
I am resilient.
Setbacks are part of life. Knowing that you are resilient can help you bounce back even when things don’t go as planned. Try using this phrase after a letdown and remind yourself that you can recover.
I can do tough things with hard work.
You are going to be faced with challenges that make you question whether or not you can actually accomplish them or not. You need to remember that you can and you will. Remind yourself that you have done more difficult things before. With hard work, you can get through whatever challenges are in front of you.
FREE POSITIVE SELF-TALK POSTER
I love these positive self-talk phrases so much that I felt they needed to be in a free poster for every kid and teen. Please head over and download your own copy of this positive self-talk poster to use!
One thing I love about this list is that it encourages kids and teens to think about the positive self-talk phrases that work for them. After reading these, ask students to make their own lists!
Here are some extra articles to learn more about positive self-talk and how it can help kids and young adults:
- Why Positive Self-Talk is Worth It
- 101 Positive Affirmations for Kids
- 15+ Positive Affirmations Activities for Kids and Teens
- How to Teach Positive Self-Talk