Affirmations are short, positive statements that help you trust your abilities. You can create a positive classroom environment by giving lessons on the power of affirmations. Teaching children how to change negative thoughts into affirming statements can increase their self-esteem. Negativity is an insidious problem according to the authors of “The Best Affirmations Handbook,” who claim that most people think negative thoughts 80 percent of the time. Children who practice positive affirmations are more likely to be happy, successful and well-adjusted.
Gather the children in a circle and explain affirmations. Provide several examples such as “I’m funny,” “I’m good at math” or “I can learn to swim.” Discuss how positive and negative beliefs affect a person’s outlook and behavior. Offer children an opportunity to voluntarily share something about themselves that they really like. Then, ask volunteers to take turns sitting in the middle of the circle while other children say something nice about them. For instance, students might say, “I like your big smile” or “You’re a fast runner.” Afterward, talk about how it felt to give and receive compliments.
Provide magazines or ask students to bring some from home to share. Instruct children to cut out pictures of things that make them happy. Provide colored paper and instruct the children to cut out fun shapes such as hearts, stars and flowers. Direct children to write an affirmation on each shape, such as “I’m helpful.” Next, distribute poster board and ask children to write their names in big, colorful letters in the center of the paper. Have children glue the magazine cutouts and shapes on their boards. Encourage children to hang the poster in their bedrooms and look at it each day.
Ask children to bring a shoe box from home, or provide small cardboard boxes from a craft store. Pass out paper, markers, glue, glitter, sequins and feathers. Challenge students to create an affirmation box that’s different and beautiful. Provide children with several multicolored strips of paper. On each piece of paper, instruct children to write an affirmation that’s accurate about themselves, such as “I’m outgoing.” Direct children to fill their affirmation boxes with the written affirmations. Recommend reading one randomly selected affirmation every day at home or in school.
Ask children to share negative statements that go through their heads if they make a mistake. Write the statements on slips of paper, then place them inside a paper bag or magician’s hat, which is available from costume shops. Discuss the benefits of replacing negativity with positive affirmations. Pass around the bag or hat along with a magic wand from a toy store. Instruct each child to read a negative statement, and then wave the magic wand to transform the bad statement into an affirmation. Ask children to restate the negative comment as an affirmation. For example, “I give up” becomes “I can do this if I work harder.”
- The Best Affirmations Handbook; Patricia A. Ross and Scott Sharp Armstrong
- Children Lights: Empowering Children Using Affirmations
- New England Literary Resource Center: Affirming Our Strengths (Preparation for Affirmation Box Activity)
- New Age Teacher: A Lesson on the Power of Positive Affirmations
- Northern Ireland Curriculum: Getting to Know Me
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