Dear Parents and Guardians,
December is a month full of celebration! What better way to celebrate than to honor how special and gifted each one of us is. This month I will be visiting classrooms to work with students on improving their self-esteem. The ultimate goal is for our falcons to develop a stronger sense of self-confidence, allowing them to become more independent and reach their individual potentials along the way. A great way to help children to become more confident is to practice positive self-talk.
What is positive self-talk?
Self-talk is the inner voice that goes on inside our heads. Positive self-talk is when we talk to ourselves in a reassuring, kind, and more optimistic way. Positive self-talk can have a big impact on how we think and feel. Over time, engaging in more positive self-talk can help reduce stress, improve self-esteem, increase motivation, inspire productivity, and improve overall mental and physical health.
How do I teach positive self-talk?
- Model positive self-talk. Practice using positive thinking skills aloud when talking about yourself and others. A simple way to start is with positive thoughts in the morning such as, “Today is going to be a great day” or “I’m ready for whatever the day brings me”. It’s helpful to highlight the positive, even in difficult situations or setbacks.
- Discuss the benefits to positive self-talk. Be open about what self-talk is and how it helps. Kids, and especially teens, might be skeptical about why they should change their thinking at first. Also know that practicing self-talk out loud might seem silly at times, but you have to change your words before you can really change the silent thinking in your head.
- Practice changing negative thoughts into more positives ones. You can do this with made-up examples or real-life situations. Using an example like, “I only did well on this test due to luck”, challenge kids and young adults to turn the statement into a more positive one. Also, when a kid or young adult brings up a negative thought, encourage him or her to change it to positive self-talk.
- Incorporate crafts as a way to remember positive self-talk. Creating simple crafts with positive self-talk can be a great way for kids and young adults to learn positive self-talk. Best of all, kids can keep their craft for times when they need extra support. They can use it to help them start the day on a positive note or when they are feeling anxious, stressed, sad, or angry.
- Talk about real life challenges and situations. Talk about the challenges kids and young adults are going through and how they feel about those situations. Ask questions like, “What can you learn from that situation?”, “What could the positive to that be?”, “What did you do right?” and “How could that help you for the future?” Try to focus on the positive, what went right, and what can be learned instead of dwelling on the negative. Setbacks and failures are great times to use positive self-talk because they are the prime time for feeling down. Use these real-life situations to show how positive self-talk can help you get back up again when faced with a difficulty or disappointment.
Miss Lauren Schneider, M.Ed.
Professional School Counselor
St. Francis de Sales