December 7, 2016 by CassieCravings
6 year-old Eli and I have been working together to establish a more improved morning routine that accommodates a very non-routined newborn while preserving those precious and pivotal first family moments of the day. In my own practices, I have found that having a purposeful, established routine sets up for a productive rest of the day.
Current Morning Routine
Our current routine for Eli has been:
- 5:30-wake up and get dressed
- 5:35- breakfast
- 6:50- brush teeth and fix hair
- 6:00- practice skill (right now that is handwriting)
- 6:10- devotions and prayer
- 6:20- pack up and walk to the bus stop together
It’s a good routine. It’s solid. He gets an opportunity to focus on a skill/goal and spends time with God before he starts a hectic day of learning and activity.
However, I feel like we need to add another component. And I feel like we can do that without him having to get up even earlier. To his morning routine, we have decided to add affirmations. He can insert this during his brush teeth and fix hair portion already carved out in his routine.
Affirmations change our inner dialogue. They practice inspiring, confident, go-getter thoughts to replace those negative ones that continue to creep into our mind. Eli happens to lean towards being anxious individual. His 6 year-old brain is already inundated with negative, fearful thoughts. He has to battle this every day. Affirmations are another weapon that he can use to take on anxiety. They will be another tool to equip him to developing into his very best self.
Because this was both of our first time writing affirmations for kids, I spent quite a bit of time researching and practicing myself before presenting it to Eli. Once I felt equipped to guide and facilitate the process, I presented the idea to him. He was receptive and even excited about the new adventure.
** Please note: If he was resistant to the project, I would have backed off and tried another approach later. It is imperative that kids are invested in their affirmations. Blindly repeating words just because they have been told to do so will offer little benefit. Sure. It might sink in. But it will be much more effective when they are an active stakeholder in the process.
To pick the affirmations, I did quite a bit of research. I looked up examples and considered the following:
- Which lifelong qualities do I want my child to exhibit?
- Which traits are important to my child?
- How do we word this affirmation to make it simple yet powerful?
After researching, I scratched down some ideas. While I knew that I needed to be heavily involved in this brand new concept, I still wanted Eli to have ownership. My ideas were the launching pad to his own inspiration.
As we worked through this writing process, I modeled my own affirmations. We took the writing process slow and steady. Writing is hard. It’s supposed to be. That’s okay. Writing a completely new genre is nearly excruciating. We were both patient (with some lapses, of course), and we were both persistent. It took even longer than I anticipated, and it turned out brilliantly.
How did we display affirmations?
Displaying the affirmations was left to the creative process of the 6 year-old. My only stipulations were that they had to be accessible and prominent.
A few of our brainstorming ideas for displaying affirmations were:
- a collage
- in his journal
- mixed media poster (paints, printed pics, markers, etc.)
- on an app (such as pic collage)
- video or voice recording (He would recite them with the recording each morning.)
In the end, he chose to start an affirmations journal. He also said that he would make a video when he felt more confident.
- I take care of my brain by playing actively, getting plenty of sleep, and eating healthy foods.
- I am capable of conquering my challenges.
- I treat others with kindness, compassion, and empathy.
- I am a cherished child of God.
- I am creative.
- I work hard, and it pays off.
- I use my influence to add value to other people’s lives.
- I am resilient.
- I always do what is right even when no one is watching.
- “Never, never, never, never give up.” ~Winston Churchill
Honestly, when I began the affirmations project, I wasn’t sure how it would turn out. Even throughout the project, I wasn’t quite sure what the outcome would be. But I focused on the process and the long-term goal, while letting go of the task. This helped me to prioritize the activity so that I could focus on what was important: empowering my son.
We have found that the affirmations have been fun and effective. He loves shouting positive words at himself early in the morning. He stands taller. He has more confidence. And he’s improving that inner dialogue.