Updated: Nov 30, 2021
Toddlerhood is a strange transitional period for a child and her mother. During the toddler years a child is dealing with exerting his independence while still needing his mommy. He may have frequent outbursts, tantrums, and all-out screaming episodes. Toddlers may even do strange things, like play with boogers or dangling spit from their mouth before sucking it back up. As exhilarating, exhausting, and comical as toddler life can be, it is important to remember to instill a sense of confidence and teach your child to speak kindly to herself from the very beginning. A good way to instill healthy self-esteem is to speak positive affirmations to your toddler.
Positive affirmations are statements that counteract negative thoughts about oneself. When practiced (or repeated) consistently, positive affirmations can transform the way a person feels about themselves. Positive affirmations are usually taught in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy to treat anxiety and sometimes depression. But studies show that those who perform better and have higher self-esteem and lower rates of anxiety and depression tend to have inner thoughts that are kind to the self, uplifting, and positive in nature.
Positive affirmations can be used on adults, teens, children, and especially babies. A toddler is especially receptive to positive affirmations because she is looking to her caregivers to tell her about her environment as well as how to feel about herself and her own actions. The voices of a toddler’s caregivers are likely to form the inner voices that she will hear throughout her life.
Talking negatively to a toddler, shouting at her, and becoming angry when she makes a mess (or any other annoying toddler action) can have adverse effects on her mental health, where speaking love, kindness and affirmations can foster self-care, self-respect and healthy self-esteem.
Below is a list of 10 of the best affirmations to start speaking to your little one. Try to find opportunities to say these words to your toddler at least once a day, every day. Being consistent is important and will help your little one learn the message that you are teaching, which is self-value, self-respect, and healthy self-esteem.
Practice These Affirmations with your Toddler
1. You’re such a good boy (or girl)!
So, you caught your little guy picking up his blocks and placing them one by one into the toy box. Hooray! Use this moment as an opportunity to reinforce good healthy behavior. Praise him by letting him know that he is a good boy! The praise for the behavior ensures that he will repeat this action in the future. If your toddler is making good choices (even small ones) let him know.
2. Wow look what you can do!
Scribbling across a piece of paper is a major accomplishment for a little guy, and so is standing on one foot or stacking a few blocks. It may not look like much, but to him it is everything. He’s proud of himself and he wants you to be proud of him too. If you notice your toddler eager to show you something, tell him he did a good job to foster a healthy self-esteem.
3. You can try it.
Nurture a can-do attitude into your kid by letting him know that it’s okay and even fun to try new things. Introduce new foods like fruits and veggies and encourage him to try. Or, stack a few blocks and then encourage him to do the same. Setting an example and then offering your toddler to try shows him that you believe in his ability to achieve, which will lead him to believe the same about himself. Always be on the lookout for opportunities to encourage your child to try something new.
4. Good Job
Good Job is like the little brother of “You can try.” Once your child has tried something new it is always a good idea to tell her she did a good job. If you do not think your child did a good job, try saying “nice try” or “very nice” instead. Praise goes a long way in fostering good self-esteem and inner peace.
5. I love you
Of course, you love your baby. You gave up so much just to bring that little person into the world, and you want nothing but the best for this little angel. But it is important to act these words and speak them out loud too. Toddlers understand the concept of loving acts, affection, and feelings towards them (whether they are positive or negative) and can sense the overall feel of how a person feels about them. Speaking the words ‘I love you’ teaches a child that it is okay to verbally express how you feel.
6. It’s okay to be angry
Your toddler will inevitably have a meltdown, tantrum, or all-out screaming fit. It is important to remember in this time that your little guy is human and experiences frustration, annoyance, and anger just like you do. The only difference is that he is unable to control the anger and feeling of frustration or regulate his emotions. During an outburst valid your toddlers feeling by letting him know that it’s okay to be angry, and you understand why he’s upset. Then redirect him (distraction never fails) and help him to calm down. Most toddlers calm down once their feelings are validated by an adult.
7. Don’t worry
Toddlers may seem fearless, but they do have worries. Children of this age group often worry if a parent will return if the parent leaves his sight. They are aware of time and they know that you may be gone for one minute or for a few hours. When your toddler seems fearful let him know that he is safe, and there’s no need to worry or become fearful.
8. You can help
Encourage your toddler to be helpful, and clean up after himself by letting him know that he can help with small chores or little projects. Next time you're picking up toys or doing housework encourage your baby to help you. I love to add a little icing on the "You can help" cake by saying to my toddler "you got this!" when he's doing a good job at helping.
Saying goodnight before bed sets the tone for a good night’s rest. The word goodnight serves as a trigger word that helps your little one understands that it’s time to get some sleep. Saying goodnight can be as simple as one word, or as detailed as a goodnight poem, or prayer.
10. You can do it!
This affirmation builds self-confidence and fosters the belief that your little guy can do anything he puts his mind to. Encourage your child by telling he can do it, when you notice him trying something that pushes his normal limit, such as trying to climb the steps on the slide all by himself.
Positive affirmations work best when they are spoken consistently. Although you do not have to say all 10 affirmations every day, you should aim to say at least 1 or 2 each day. Keep in mind that there is also too much of a good thing. Avoid over usage of positive affirmations to avoid an overly inflated ego.
These are only some of the affirmations I use on my own toddler. Don't hesitate to come up with a few of your own that make the most sense for you and your child.
With Love Always,