Positive affirmations are the encouraging words we say to encourage and motivate ourselves along the way. These are phrases like, “I can do this,” and “Today will be a great day.” Seemingly simple words that have a big impact on our minds.
Just some of the benefits for using positive self-talk include:
- It builds confidence. In order for kids and teens to feel proud and confident of their abilities, they have to remind themselves what those strengths are.
- It increases motivation. Sometimes, starting a task or chore can be hard. Kids and teens can use positive words to propel themselves forward.
- It serves as a coping strategy. We all experience emotional ups and downs. Using positive self-talk is a simple technique kids and teens can take with them anywhere to deal with emotions.
- It promotes self-love. Caring about yourself is important. It’s always worth the time to teach kids and teens they are valuable, beautiful, and enough the way they are.
Before getting started practicing positive affirmations with kids and teens, teach learners what positive self-talk is and how it will help them. It’s worth mentioning that they might not be believers at first. That’s okay! Positive self-talk is a practice, meaning it is an activity we get better at every time we do it.
Here are ideas for practicing positive affirmations:
List Favorite Affirmations
Read through a list of positive affirmations. Then, have kids and teens choose their top 10 affirmations to say to themselves. What’s great about this activity is that everyone’s list will be different! Students can post their top 10 list in their lockers, on their desks, or keep in their binder to read when they need. Grab this free printable list or head over to read 101 positive affirmations for kids and teens.
Affirmation of the Day
Choose one positive affirmation for the day. Make it a point to focus on this positive thought in the morning and several times throughout the day. Once students understand the idea, you can have them choose the positive affirmation of the day too.
Morning Affirmation Ritual
Make positive affirmations a daily routine! Come up with a list of favorite affirmations and build time into the schedule to read them every morning. This can be done at home or first thing when students arrive at school each day. Use this free sample list or come up with your own!
Stand in a circle. Have one child start by reading or saying a positive affirmation aloud. Have that student call on another student to have them read an affirmation aloud. Keep the affirmation circle going until all students have said at least one affirmation aloud. You can add movement by having students toss a ball to whoever gets to read next.
Sing each positive affirmation to the tune of a favorite song or just an instrumental background. Make this a challenge to see who can come up with the best song.
Fill in the Blank
Provide a sentence starter, such as “I am…” or “Today, I will…” and have learners fill in the blank. Kids and teens can do this in writing or out loud. Another thought is to write this sentence starter on the board. Then, have students come up and finish the statement. When all students are finished, the board will be filled with many different positive affirmations, such as: I am strong, I am beautiful, I am unique, and I am enough. You can even try these Positive Self-Talk Boom Cards to build on these skills in a digital way.
Around the Room
Write positive affirmations on popsicle sticks or slips of paper. Put them all together in a bag or box. Go around the room and have students randomly pick out a slip to read. This gives every learners a chance to read a random positive affirmation.
Beach Ball Affirmations
Use an inflatable beach ball and write different affirmations all over. Toss the ball around. When one student gets the ball, they need to read aloud the positive words that are where their pointer finger touches. Then, they can pass the ball to someone else and continue the process.
Positive Thoughts Breathing
Give positive thoughts breathing a try. In this technique, you might first want to teach about mindful breathing, a practice where we focus on our breath to help calm our bodies and minds. To give it a try, think of a positive thought as you slowly breathe in. Hold your breath for a few seconds and then breathe out.
Write a Poem
Have kids and teens write a poem using only positive affirmations. They can use a positive affirmations list to help them, or they can come up with encouraging words on their own. Give a chance to read poems aloud. As an extension, students can write out their poem on poster board or larger paper and then make designs around it.
Sticky Note Reminders
Have kids list out some different positive affirmations on sticky notes. Then, place them in spots where they might randomly remind them of the encouraging words. For example, kids might place inside their math book, in their homework binder, in their locker, or on their fridge at home. These can serve as mini-reminders to help kids do their best, think positively, and stay focused.
Positive Affirmation Collage
Have students create their own collage with a picture of themselves in the middle. All around their picture, they should add words and images focused on positive affirmations. This can be the most fun when students clip words out of magazines but you can also have them write the positive words on paper and paste them right on to their collage. Learn more about other ways to integrate social emotional learning into art.
Make an Affirmation Mini-book
Have kids and teens choose their top positive affirmations. For each page, list out that positive affirmation and draw a picture. Put the book together as something kids and teens can use when they are feeling overwhelmed or need a boost.
Design Affirmation Posters
Have students choose their favorite positive affirmation and design it into a poster. They can color and add pictures however they want. Once finished, students can hang on to their poster or you can post them around the room. You can even put them up as a bulletin board filled with words of encouragement.
Use Real-Life Scenarios
Give practice for using positive affirmations by using real-life scenarios. You might ask kids and teens, “Imagine you are about to take a test, but you feel overwhelmed. What would you say to yourself?” You can even do this activity using characters in a story or novel.
Highlight the Lyrics
Several popular songs include lyrics with positive affirmations. Some examples include “Roar” by Katy Perry, “Good Life” by One Republic, “Happy” by Pharrell Williams, and “Beautiful Life by Ace of Base. Print the lyrics out and have students read them. They can highlight the positive words, read, and even sing them.
I hope these activities are helpful techniques you can use to unleash the incredible power of positive thinking with kids and teens. Do you have a favorite? Share in the comments to let others know!