Nightly Affirmations Benefit Your Toddler’s Well-Being

May 5, 2016
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In the book, The Help, by Katherine Stockett, the nanny tells the child she helps raise, “You is kind.  You is smart.  You is important”.  She tells her this daily, in an attempt to inoculate the child from the negativity she is surrounded with growing up.  This habitual affirmation of self-worth hit home for me as a parent.

It seems like there are so many times as a parent where I have to say, “No.” or “Don’t do that.” or “Clean this up right now!” and it takes a conscious effort to be sure to outweigh the negatives phrases with ones that are positive.  I’ve started giving my girls affirmations on a regular basis, hoping that some of the words will sink into their skulls and etch themselves into their brains. I don’t have a standard trio of words like the nanny did, instead, I list a multitude of strengths that I notice about them.  I say things like:

“You’re strong.”

“You pay attention.”

“You’re a hard worker.”

“You’re a kind person.”

“You’re creative.”

“You’re a reader.”

“You’re an artist.”

“You share with your friends.”

“You try new things.”

“You can tell when people are being nice, and when they’re not.”

It’s not always the exact same list, but many of the statements above make their way out of my mouth on a regular basis.  

I’ve found that the best time to have these affirming talks is during bedtime.  After going through our nighttime routine, even if my girls are tired, sometimes they’ll try to extend bedtime.  Occasionally, my oldest gets out of bed and tries this tactic:

“Wait, Mama, I have to tell you something”.  

“What do you need to tell me?”

“Um…….” and she searches for something to say.

She didn’t need to tell me anything, she just wanted to talk a bit longer.  Anything to get out of having to go to sleep right that minute.  When I wrap up bedtime with the affirmations, though, I notice a difference.  I can feel her body physically relax as I look into her eyes and list some of the positive traits I see in her.  She sometimes even makes a little noise that I equate to a cat’s purr, a soothing kind of sound that sort of sounds like a hummed version of someone saying, “Awwww!” that she just can’t help but make because what I’m saying feels good to hear.  The other night I was going through the affirmations and I ended with, “I’m proud of you and I love you,” and my daughter said, “Don’t forget the, ‘you notice who is nice!’”  I hadn’t listed that one.  It was the first time I got confirmation that what I was saying was sinking in.  

On those evenings when I give my toddler a list of affirmations, by the time I leave the room she is usually already rolling to her side, bringing her blanket near her face.  She’s calm, settled, and she has an easier time going to sleep.  I don’t usually hear her say “Mama!  I have to tell you something!”  The affirmations seem to be good for her confidence, as well as her ability to get to sleep.

One Comment

  1. anthony m

    May 11, 2016 at 2:38 pm

    The word affirmation comes from the Latin affirmare, originally meaning “to make steady, strengthen.”
    ——
    i think it’s a wonderful thing that you’re making a conscious effort to raise your children in a home with positivity and gratitude and confidence building praise.

    thank you for sharing your insight with us.
    i hope 2 read more of your blogs/essays/articles
    ——-
    Stevie Wonder sang a song about Positivity_

    STEVIE WONDER LYRICS
    “Positivity”
    (feat. Aisha Morris)

    Some people ask me why always on the bright side
    When there’s so much going on down the other side
    It’s like I live in a bubble with no trouble
    And problems don’t exist

    I chuckle and tell them that ain’t the case at all
    It goes way back to the time when I was very small
    Not in mind but size and age my papa use to say

    You can always look at the negative
    But you should always live in the positive
    So I try everyday to live that way
    Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah

    Some people live in what was and what they could have been
    As opposed to living in a what is and how much they can
    And be the first to complain about nothing in life going their way
    The attitude is “that I can’t do nothing ’bout”
    And very happy with just breathing in and out
    The ones that when you say “lets go make a difference”
    They’ll say “naw that’s OK”

    So I don’t waste time on the trip side
    ‘Cause I do know the real on the flipside
    And I’m crystal clear everyday that’s why I say, yeah
    Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah

    When I see the morning
    And the sun is smiling down upon me
    I joy in the blessing
    That still the ground is not above me
    And for the people
    That I can truly say do love me, I feel
    Positivity, ’cause that’s what life’s meant to be
    Positivity, ’cause this day did not have to be

    “Like fine wine I like seeing the glass of life as half full than half empty”

    I’m saying sometimes life can’t be rough
    But never to the point of me saying I’ve had enough
    Long as my heart beats I ain’t giving up
    That’s why I say everyday
    Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah

    When I see the morning
    And the sun is smiling down upon me
    Just joy in the blessing
    That still the ground is not above me
    And for the people
    That you can truly say do love you, do feel
    Positivity, ’cause that’s what life’s meant to be
    Positivity, and that’s the energy the world needs
    Positivity, ’cause that’s what life means to me
    Positivity, ’cause this day did not have to be
    Positivity, ’cause that’s what life’s meant to be
    Positivity, ’cause that’s the energy the world needs
    Positivity, ’cause that’s what life’s meant to be
    Positivity, and this day did not have to be
    Positivity, ’cause that’s what life means to me
    Positivity, and that’s the energy the world needs
    Positivity, ’cause that’s what life’s meant to be
    Positivity, and that’s the energy the world needs

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