As parents, from the moment our babies are born, we’re in protection mode. We are careful about how we talk to them, about ourselves and about other people in front of them. We do everything possible to weed out negative self-talk because we want our children to stay happy and healthy. However, nothing can prepare you for the moment your child comes to you with negative thoughts about themselves.

There’s no need to blame yourself, or them or anybody around you. I’ve come to realise that it’s going to come up at some point in life for them. It’s not our job to try and stop that from happening. It’s our job as parents to spring into action and start arming them with the tools to continuously reshape their mindsets.

The truth is, unless the media and advertisements change their ways, our children are going to be blasted by unrealistic “norms” every day. It’s no wonder we’re fighting an uphill battle when it comes to self-image.

So how can we help reset their mindset?

There are a few different ways you can start introducing a positive self-image to children of any age. It’s great to start when young but it’s incredibly important to buckle down to reinforce a positive self-image when they start showing signs that they need to.

Morning affirmations

Add 2 minutes to their teeth brushing routines where they need to look at themselves in the mirror and repeat some positive affirmations to themselves. Make sure to discuss with them the kinds of things they could say to themselves and how some things may sound like positive talk to them but they aren’t. For example, “I am skinny” is not positive talk. However, that can be replaced with “I am beautiful inside and out” or “I am perfect just the way I am”. Some examples of positive self-talk are:

  • I am beautiful inside and out
  • I am perfect just the way I am
  • I am smart
  • I am brave
  • I am kind
  • I am a good friend
  • I am enough
  • I can do hard things
  • I am capable
  • I am loved
  • I will have a good day today
  • I am responsible
  • I am courageous
  • I try my best
  • I learn from my mistakes
  • I believe in myself
  • I can make a difference
  • I am proud of myself
  • I respect myself
  • I can reach my goals
  • I am creative
  • I am a good listener
  • I am good at …..
  • I make good choices
  • I am fun
  • I am unique
  • I am talented
  • I am a great kid
  • I never give up
  • I forgive myself for my mistakes
  • I have people who love me
  • It’s okay to not know everything
  • I deserve happiness
  • I am important
  • Bad emotions will pass
  • There is always a reason to smile
  • I AM ME!

There are so many more positive affirmations to be said, the ones above are just a few! Lead by example and do this activity yourself as well. Show your children that you can do it too! It’ll help them and will help your own self-image as well.

Create a positive self-image board together

Using some of their favourite affirmations, create a board for their room. Put a picture of themselves in the middle and create a colourful “brainstorming” board of positive affirmations together. This will be something they can look at and read whenever they’re in their rooms or going to sleep at night.

Look into positive journals and colouring books

Doing a quick google search will give you lots of options for some really cool, positivity journals that they can write in each day to express their feelings, help them work through negative feelings and ways to turn them into positive feelings. There are also many cute colouring books that do the same thing. Colouring can be a great outlet for a lot of people.

Keep active and eat healthy as a family

Just as exercise and eating good healthy whole foods makes us feel food inside our bodies and minds, it does wonders for children as well! It’s also a great way to teach your children about eating healthy and staying active to feel good and not to “look better”. These are things your child needs to be their “norm” so that they can go through life at any age and keep their whole selves happy and healthy.

Teach them how to accept a compliment

Make sure you give your child compliments and show them they are loved and valued every single day. Teach them how to accept that love and those compliments instead of brushing them off. Teach them it’s good to say “oh thank you so much” etc when complimented. Complements don’t always need to be on their appearance either. Children need to hear compliments of all sorts so that they value themselves for who they are and not just what they look like.

Make a “things I’d like to work towards” list

Make a list together of things you’d both like to improve on over the next few months. Maybe that’s fitness, a sport to learn, how neat your handwriting is, maths, telling the time, reading etc. Your child needs to accept that we all have things we need to work on or things we need help with. Writing a list can give you both the opportunity to help each other work on those things.

As always, if you practice these things yourself, your children will follow suit. We all know that children mimic what they see. If you implement these things into your daily life, you can continually recorrect the mindset that media and advertisements are creating in our children.

Do you have any other ways to help reinforce positive self-image in kids? Let us know below!

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