We’ve had a tough few weeks around here. The kids have been unwell, they’ve been under pressure at school, my husband and I have both been busy with work, my Mum has been hospitalised, we’ve had lots to do and the weather has not been very kind. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed, low and a litttle helpless when challenges keep coming at you, don’t you agree?
It’s tempting to let unhelpful and negatives thoughts take hold when you’re feeling unwell, under pressure and lacking motivation. I know we have not been enjoying life lately and the kids have been struggling too. My normal optimistic and positive nature has gone AWOL, which has just compounded things further.
Things changed a little earlier this week when we received an unexpected letter in the mail. The high school sent through a letter to both Gilbert and Matilda, congratulating them on their effort and progress in a number of subjects during Semester 1. This positive affirmation was just what we needed to emerge a little from our funk and start looking for the positives again.
Seeing Matilda’s pride and happiness in being recognised for her efforts was a real joy. She’s not used to being recognised so this was a big boost to her spirits and her confidence as we head into the backend of Term 2.
It got me thinking that simple acts of positive affirmation are a must for special needs families. It’s something that we can, and should, be doing each day to counter the negatives and build valuable skills. Whether they come from yourself or from third parties (like schools, sporting teams or after-school activities), positive affirmations have a number of valuable benefits for us as parent and for our kids too.
5 Benefits of Using Positive Affirmations With Your Kids
Positive Affirmations Boost Confidence
Complimenting your child and acknowledging their effort is a big confidence booster. No matter how insignificant or small, compliments and acknowledgements make a difference to everyone. Even if your child seems to not care or be underwhelmed by your effort, keep going and find something positive to tell them everyday. Tell them you’re proud of them staying at school all day. Compliment them on their Minecraft creation. Marvel at their ability to clear a stage in an online game. However small, positively affirming their achievements each day will make a difference.
Positive Affirmations Validate Effort and Acknowledge Challenges
I recently told my kids how proud I was of them for coping with a weekend away from home. After a busy few weeks and with nearly everyone sick, it was a big ask for them to come to a family celebration and be social when they didn’t feel like being social at all. I kept reminding them that I knew it was a big ask and that I appreciated their effort. It might not seem like much, but knowing that I understood how hard it was for them, helped them get through. It’s important to provide positive affirmation to validate effort and acknowledge challenges, too.
Positive Affirmations Build Resilience
Providing positive feedback on effort and achievement is a great way to build resilience and perseverance. Even if your child struggles on a task or goal, positively affirming their effort will give them motivation to keep going. The more they are reassured and encouraged along the way, the better the chance of them getting through and achieving their goal. It’s no secret that building up confidence and recognising effort has a big role to play in building resilience and motivating kids to keep going, even if they find things tough.
Positive Affirmations Counter Negativity
Consciously giving your child positive affirmations each day will go a long way to countering the negativity they may encounter elsewhere. Kids with special needs are more likely to be bullied, treated differently, underestimated, teased and subject to negative treatment. Providing positive reinforcement at home helps counter these challenges and balances the ledger. Making the effort to provide regular positive affirmations will help our kids maintain self-esteem, recognise their strengths and develop a more healthy view of themselves.
Positive Affirmations Help to Practise Positivity
Finding something positive to comment on and celebrate each day is the simplest way to practise positivity. It’s an exercise in being grateful and finding things to be thankful for. Positively affirming your child’s effort, achievements and behaviour each day helps you start recognising the positives. You’ll find yourself focusing on the things they can do, rather than the things they can’t. Focusing on and celebrating the positives will also encourage your child to find the positives in their lives. This is a vital skill that will help your child throughout their whole life.
Raising our kids with regular positive affirmations is so important. The benefits are clear and it’s such a quick, easy and simple thing to do. It’s a practice that can make such a big difference to the lives of special needs families, for kids and parents alike.
Do you use positive affirmations as a special needs parent?
This post is part of our new series “5 Things Special Needs Parents Should Know”. If you’d like to submit a guest post, or if you have a topic you’d like covered as part of this weekly series, send your idea to firstname.lastname@example.org