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So I’ll be straight up honest with you folks. This is a total rip off post from my bestie Rachel over at Owlbeme.com. She’s sort of my mental health/ life coach for a lot of things, and affirmations 100% comes from her. SHOUT OUT TO YOU RACHEL! I LOVE YOU!
So affirmations. Where the hell did I get this idea?
Anywho, I got the idea to affirmations with my boys from her ebook. So I decided to give it a whirl. I decided to keep it simple and start with some easy ones. The 4-year-old immediately LOVED it and wants to do affirmations all the time. The 6-year-old fought me tooth and nail for the first few nights. Now it’s part of our bedtime ritual.
What exactly are affirmations?
But let’s back up real quick, what the hell is an affirmation anyway? Dictionary.com has 5 definitions, but for this post we’ll keep it simple.
the assertion that something exists or is true.dictionary.com
That’s it! It’s a statement with the assertion that it is true. It’s so easy! But here’s the thing. They don’t HAVE to be positive. This is where my wall broke down. Because I am NOT a crunchy mama. I believe in vaccines and McDonald’s Happy Meals. (I swear I DO do a lot to keep them physically healthy though!) Once I realized we mentally say affirmations ALL DAY LONG, I caved. I bought in 100%.
You are already doing affirmations!
Have you ever screwed up and thought ‘I am SUCH a dumbass!’ Or ‘Jesus, I am so fat.’ Well, those nasty little thoughts are affirmations. Just not the good ones. Choosing to say positive affirmations helps counteract that negative self-talk. Something both of my kids desperately need.
I became an affirmation mama
I didn’t go out and buy new clothes made from hemp or anything, I just started saying nice things, out loud, about myself. And explained what I was doing. Next up, I asked my kids to repeat after me during bedtime nice things about themselves.
My 4-year-old LOVES anything remotely like this (along with any extra attention) but the 6-year-old needed more convincing. He would scream at me ‘But it’s not true!’ when I asked him to say things like ‘I am good’. I had to explain to him that it didn’t have to be true, that we were training his brain to make it so it could become true. We have to believe these things about ourselves to make them a reality. Saying it out loud hits your brain from two angles: we hear it AND we think it. Boom. And finally, it clicked with him too.
I learned some interesting things about my kids with affirmations
They’ll ask me to repeat one if it’s an area where they are having trouble. It’s cute and heartbreaking all at the same time when a little boy asks if we can say ‘I am important’ again. But it shows me where he needs more support. It’s also very interesting when I get asked to add one about having only good dreams or being strong enough to stand up to a bully. It gives me insight into their lives that I otherwise might not get. Not because we don’t talk about these things, but because they don’t know how to tell me or ask for help. When I ask them to repeat a statement that covers an area of difficulty, it gives them the window they need to show me that they’re struggling. I wish I could put that better.
I have to do a lot of coaching on emotions and social situations with my older son, and affirmations at bed time is just another way to reinforce some of these ideas to him. Things such as ‘I am a good listener’ to help reinforce to him the need to listen. And when he starts to squirm uncomfortably, I know he had trouble with listening that day. Maybe we’ll talk more about it, maybe we wont. But it’s a great tool for both of us in terms of communication.
What exactly do we say?
I keep it simple. We have a lot of the same ones each night, but sometimes we have to switch it up based on what happened that day. Here are my standard go-to’s each night.
For my older son he likes me to add ‘I will only have good dreams’ and ‘I can sleep in my own bed’ Which is funny because we don’t have problems with those from my perspective. But he asks for them, so we do them.
Give affirmations with your kids a shot
I encourage you to try it. Like REALLY try it. Give it a week minimum, because the first time will just feel awkward and off. It takes a while to add anything to your routine, especially something like this if things like affirmations aren’t your typical jam.
Since I like to think I’m a healthy person, I am always willing to try things that might help us improve our physical OR mental health. Affirmations just so happened to work!