Our minds are like gardens, and our words, thoughts, and the stories we tell ourselves are the seeds that grow in that very fertile soil. Planting thought seeds that are calm and peaceful will make you feel much more positive than if you were to think thoughts that are chaotic and negative.
Young children’s minds develop along with their confidence and sense of self. Using affirmations with kids is like sowing flower seeds instead of weeds. Positive words, like flowers can bloom in your child’s mind and impact their inner and outer worlds. But, if the words a child hears and repeats over and over are negative, they, like weeds, will spread into many areas of a child’s life, robbing them of joy, peace and resilience.
These thought patterns that influence our behaviors and feelings are some of the basic tenets of cognitive psychology. How we think influences our behaviors and feelings, which in turn influence our thoughts, creating a cycle between our thoughts and behaviors. If you or your child are planting seeds that are negative, a vicious cycle that can seem hard to break out of can emerge. One way to ensure you are planting more positive seeds than negative ones is through the use of affirmations.
Affirmations are words and sentences that are repeated over and over, that in time, help to rewire your brain. Affirmations have been used for hundreds of years to help people shape their thoughts and their lives. More recently, they have been researched in several scientific studies and results suggest that affirmations may play an important role in shaping our brain systems to be more positive. One 2016 MRI study found that key neural pathways may be increased through the consistent use of affirmations. Like a garden needs daily nourishment, affirmations should ideally be practiced continually for at least two weeks or more before benefits can be experienced.
Because kids are naturally open-minded, childhood is a great time to introduce the use of affirmations. Presenting affirmations like positive seeds being planted in a garden is a great way to explain the concept to them. Affirmations are also like super powers or magic words, if your child likes superheroes or fantasy, introduce affirmations to them through this lens. Also explain to your child that affirmations are just as important to their daily routine as brushing their teeth or completing their homework. Once they understand the basics of what affirmations are, build this practice into their daily routine. It might be in the mornings in a mirror before school or at night in bed as a part of their bedtime routine. Ask your child when they want to say their affirmations and follow their lead.
One of the most beautiful aspects to affirmations is their sheer versatility. They can be virtually any positive word or phrase that helps address a challenge you or your child is facing. As your child grows and changes, their affirmations can change too. For example, if your child is anxious at the beginning of the school year, they can use an affirmation specifically for reducing school induced anxiety, like “I am safe” or “I am smart.” If your child feels more confident as the school year progresses, but begins to struggle falling asleep, they could switch their affirmation to “I can sleep peacefully” or “I fall asleep quickly.” Whatever words of comfort your child is needing is the perfect affirmation for them.
For more positive messages, try one of Wee Meditate’s loving-kindness meditations with a membership and help your child start planting more positive seeds today. Want to try our content first? Listen to a preview of our content library here.