A few months ago, one of my friends (whose daughter is the same age as my son) posted on Facebook asking for positive affirmations for toddlers to use with her little girl.
As someone who loves affirmations for myself, I was shocked to realize that I had never thought to start affirmations with my boys! After all, developing habits of positive self-talk can never start too early. Using positive affirmations with your toddlers can help them develop awareness and mindfulness, a healthy coping mechanism, as well as grit and determination that can carry over into childhood and adulthood.
Positive Affirmations for Toddlers: Child Psychology
As far as affirmations go, they can help to influence a child in 2 ways, cognitively and socio-emotionally, with the primary focus being on the latter.
Cognitive development refers to the intellectual learning and thought processes of a child. It includes the observation and understanding of the world around them, language learning, memory, decision-making, problem-solving, how the child uses their imagination, and how the child uses basic reasoning.Western Washington Medical Group
Emotional development refers to how the child feels, understands, and expresses their emotions. … Learning to regulate and express emotions appropriately is difficult for many children. Helping children understand their emotions early can have a powerful impact on current and future emotional development.
The toddler years effectively set the stage for the kind of cognitive and emotional habits they will have for years to come.
It’s very important to keep things simple. Toddlers are still learning language and don’t need to be bombarded with a lot of new words while learning or speaking these. It is, of course, good to stretch their minds a little, and hopefully they will ask you questions about certain words if you should choose to use these affirmations with your toddlers. But they first need an understanding.
Growth Mindset vs. Fixed Mindset
There has been a deeper understanding of growth mindset happening the last few years. Many of us grew up with a fixed mindset. Some examples of a fixed mindset are:
- I’m just not good at math, so why even try?
- I’m great at people skills, but I’ve never been good at sports.
- That’s just the way things are.
Fixed mindset is defined as believing that “our character, intelligence, and creative ability are static givens which we can’t change in any meaningful way” (Brain Pickings).
In contrast, growth mindset is all about our ability to learn.
(Growth mindset) creates a passion for learning rather than a hunger for approval. Its hallmark is the conviction that human qualities like intelligence and creativity, and even relational capacities like love and friendship, can be cultivated through effort and deliberate practice.Brain Pickings
Don’t we all want our children to have growth mindset and believe that they can do anything if we try?
Using Positive Affirmations During Learning
This summer, my toddler has been learning to pedal a tricycle. It is taking him a long time to learn, but he gets on the tricycle day after day.
One day recently, he said to me, “I can’t do it.”
Pushing away the desire to cry that he was already using “can’t”, I told him, “Let’s say instead:
I’ll try again.”
He repeated the sentence.
And try again he did. And again… and again… He hasn’t mastered pedaling yet, but he’s getting better, and he knows that it’s okay to “try again”. Whenever he starts to say “I can’t,” we change the sentence to “I’ll try again.”
Using Positive Affirmations During a Toddler Sleep Regression
More recently, when my toddler was having difficulty sleeping alone he wanted my husband and I to sleep on the floor of his room every night. It got old really quick, especially since he had always been such an independent sleeper from the very beginning. (He really spoiled us!)
We used positive affirmations with him nightly for a few nights, explaining that if he needed us, we were right outside his door, but that we wanted him to try to fall asleep on his own. We would have him repeat:
I am strong.
I am safe.
I am loved.
Mama and Dada are right here.
For the first few nights, he still called us in. But after 3 or 4 nights, he began to fall asleep on his own again. We continued the affirmations for another week or two until we were certain he felt comfortable.
There was no crying involved. It was a completely supportive, harmless, and even nurturing way to get our toddler back into a more independent routine at bedtime.
You can always take things to the next level and read affirmation cards with your child every day! (coming soon!)
50 Positive Affirmations to Have Your Toddler Repeat Tonight!
- I am strong.
- I am kind.
- I am powerful.
- I am important.
- I am loved.
- I am safe.
- I am smart.
- I am calm.
- I am enough.
- I am brave.
- I am unique.
- I am loving.
- I am helpful.
- I am creative.
- I am thankful.
- I am joyful.
- I am fun.
- I am worthy.
- I am capable.
- I’m a good friend.
- I’m a good brother/sister.
- I am a good listener.
- I can do it!
- I am perfect just as I am.
- I believe in myself.
- I accept who I am.
- I am a leader.
- I deserve to feel happy.
- I am proud of myself.
- Today is an awesome day!
- I am ready to learn.
- I know I can.
- I try my best.
- I am learning every day.
- I am whole.
- I’ve got this.
- I trust myself.
- I am beautiful, inside and out.
- I am a problem-solver.
- I love learning!
- I like myself.
- This is a good day.
- My ideas matter.
- I like trying new things!
- I am following my dreams.
- I am getting better.
- I am lovable.
- I am ready!
- My feelings matter.
- I have great ideas!
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