You’ve seen them all over Pinterest and scrawled on coasters, but positive affirmations actually have a purpose beyond memes and home decor. In fact, these feel-good statements go a long way towards promoting wellness, and that is true not just for adults trying to tap into their inner calm, but also for kids who are in the process of developing self-esteem by way of their interactions with the world around them. We spoke to Dr. Bethany Cook, clinical psychologist and author of For What It’s Worth: A Perspective on How to Thrive and Survive Parenting: Ages 0-2to find out more about the benefits of positive affirmations for kids.

What are daily affirmations and how can kids benefit from them?

Daily affirmations are simply positive statements you tell yourself (or your child) every day. This small investment in positive thinking can have a big impact on one’s well-being, and it’s especially beneficial for children as they build their self-image and learn how to navigate their feelings. “Research has proven that as humans we believe what we are told—meaning, if you tell your kids they are rotten, more than likely they will act that way,” Dr. Cook tells us. Of course, the reverse is also true—children who receive positive affirmations from themselves and others are likely to act in ways that reinforce those thoughts.

Moreover, Dr. Cook tells us that positive affirmations “impact both the conscious and subconscious areas of the brain,” influencing what she refers to as one’s “internal voice”—you know, the one that narrates and monitors how you’re doing throughout the day. Per the expert, this internal voice is an important factor in determining how you respond to situations. In other words, if something goes wrong your internal voice will decide whether you turn against yourself and “take the fast lane to self-blame city,” or if you’re able to slow down and respond to intense emotions with control and intent. Clearly, the second response is preferable—and it’s just the sort of thing children need extra help with as they’re only beginning to learn how to regulate their emotions. Daily affirmations mold your child’s inner narrative and facilitate the development of key self-regulation skills.

How to do daily affirmations with kids

Dr. Cook recommends you set aside five minutes at a specific time every day—morning is ideal, but any time is fine—and have your child get involved in choosing the two to four affirmations for that day. From there, all your child has to do is write down the affirmations (if they’re old enough to do so) and say them aloud, preferably in front of a mirror. Pro tip: Choose affirmations for yourself as well and participate in the ritual alongside your child, so you’re modeling the behavior rather than simply imposing it.

If your child is having a hard time choosing affirmations, or if there’s something specific you think your child really needs to hear that day, feel free to suggest an affirmation; as a general rule, affirmations that are relevant to your child’s life are more meaningful, says Dr. Cook. For example, if you’re going through a divorce, you might suggest your child say, “both my parents love me even if they don’t live together anymore.” Now that you know what to do, here’s a list of positive affirmations to help you and your child get started.

Positive Affirmations for Kids

  1. I have many talents.
  2. I don’t have to be perfect to be worthy.
  3. Making mistakes helps me grow.
  4. I am good at solving problems.
  5. I’m not afraid of a challenge.
  6. I am smart.
  7. I am capable.
  8. I am a good friend.
  9. I am loved for who I am.
  10. I remember that bad feelings come and go.
  11. I’m proud of myself.
  12. I have a great personality.
  13. I am enough.
  14. My thoughts and feelings are important.
  15. I’m unique and special.
  16. I can be assertive without being aggressive.
  17. I can stand up for what I believe in.
  18. I know right from wrong.
  19. It’s my character, not my appearance, that counts.
  20. I don’t have to be around anyone who makes me uncomfortable.
  21. I can speak up when someone is treating another person poorly.
  22. I can learn anything I put my mind to.
  23. I can work hard to achieve my goals.
  24. It’s OK to take a break.
  25. I can create positive change in the world.
  26. My body belongs to me and I can set boundaries around it.
  27. I have a lot to offer.
  28. I can engage in small acts of kindness to uplift other people.
  29. It’s OK to ask for help.
  30. I am creative.
  31. Asking for advice doesn’t make me weak.
  32. I love myself just as I love others.
  33. It’s OK to feel all of my feelings.
  34. Differences make us special.
  35. I can turn a bad situation around.
  36. I have a big heart.
  37. When I’ve done something that I regret, I can take responsibility.
  38. I am safe and cared for.
  39. I can ask for support.
  40. I believe in myself.
  41. I have so much to be grateful for.
  42. I can make a positive impact on people’s lives.
  43. There’s so much more about myself that I’m yet to discover.
  44. I’m fun to be around.
  45. I can’t control other people, but I can control how I respond to them.
  46. I am beautiful.
  47. I can release my worries and find a place of calm.
  48. I know everything will work out and be OK in the end.
  49. I can take positive action when something upsets me.
  50. When I pay attention, I can find things around me that bring joy.
  51. There are many exciting experiences awaiting me.
  52. I don’t have to feel alone.
  53. I can respect other people’s boundaries.
  54. I don’t have to take it personally when a friend doesn’t want to play or talk.
  55. I can take alone time when I need to.
  56. I enjoy my own company.
  57. I can find humor in the day-to-day.
  58. I use my imagination when I’m feeling bored or uninspired.
  59. I can ask for the specific kind of help I need.
  60. I am likable.
  61. I’m a good listener.
  62. The judgment of others won’t stop me from being my authentic self.
  63. I can recognize my shortcomings.
  64. I can put myself in other people’s shoes.
  65. I can cheer myself up when I’m feeling down.
  66. My family loves me unconditionally.
  67. I love myself unconditionally.
  68. There’s nothing I can’t do.
  69. Today is a fresh start.
  70. I will do great things today.
  71. I can advocate for myself.
  72. I would want to be my friend.
  73. My opinions are valuable.
  74. It’s OK to be different.
  75. I can respect other people’s opinions, even if I don’t agree.
  76. I don’t have to follow the crowd.
  77. I’m a good person.
  78. I don’t have to be happy all the time.
  79. My life is good.
  80. I can ask for a hug when I’m sad.
  81. When I don’t succeed right away, I can try again.
  82. I can talk to a grown-up when something is bothering me.
  83. I have many different interests.
  84. I can take time to understand my feelings.
  85. I’m not ashamed to cry.
  86. In fact, I don’t need to be ashamed of anything.
  87. I can choose to be around people who appreciate me for who I am.
  88. I can relax and be myself.
  89. I am willing to learn from my friends and peers.
  90. I love my body.
  91. I don’t need to compare myself to others.
  92. I take care of my physical health because I love myself.
  93. I love to learn.
  94. I will always do my best.
  95. I am strong, inside and out.
  96. I am exactly where I need to be.
  97. I am patient and calm.
  98. I love making new friends.
  99. Today is a beautiful day.
  100. I love being me.