Trying to teach kindergarteners positive self-talk?
I think I Can to I CAN!
It’s important to teach positive affirmations to kindergarteners so that they believe in themselves and build self-esteem. As a classroom teacher, I always started my year with my youngest students reading The Little Engine That Could. If it’s been a while, the little train focuses on using positive messages to make the journey and by saying “I think I can, I think I can, I can!!” With his positive thinking, he is ultimately able to make it. Not only does the book teach students perseverance but to have a positive attitude and self-talk. Studies show that on average our thoughts can be filled with up to 70% negative messages and that for each negative message we tell ourselves it takes five positive thoughts to counteract it. This means we need a conscious, active process of positive self-talk in order to make up for our brains’ negative wiring. But how do we do this for our youngest kiddos?
1. Read a story
While The Little Engine That Could is a classic, read Munchy in the Mirror to your kiddo. This brand new social-emotional learning story in which a brother-sister rabbit duo find out the importance of positive self-talk and affirmation. The story includes movement ideas as well as discussion questions and is best suited as a read aloud to kiddos in grades kindergarten to second.
2. Talk about all the good
Ask your kindergartener to list some of the things that make them special. If they get stuck, list a few strengths-based comments such as “I notice you really enjoy coloring” or “I really appreciate when you help out your little brother.”
3. Make a Positive Affirmation Flower
Artwork is a great way to process and reflect on our positive traits. Here is a fun template to use for this activity. Students can write either their name or “I am” in the center of the flower, then on each petal they can write or draw a positive quality about themselves.
Try using this tool to teach positive affirmations to your kindergarteners
4. Draw a Positive Affirmation Comics
Have your kindergartner think about a comic. When we see a comic book there are thought bubbles for the different characters. Make a four strip comic with positive affirmations in thought and speech bubbles.
Try using this comic graphic to teach positive affirmations to kindergarteners
For kids and adults our society we live in often encourages the “I’m not good enough” mentality. However, what if we all took a moment to speak (aloud or in our minds!) our positive truths through affirmations? Positive self-affirmations are great examples of mindfulness-based stress reduction. They have been linked to improved academic achievement and healthy lifestyles. So, let’s start our kids out young building their self-esteem with positive messages and affirmations.