One of the most important things to me as a mother, besides letting my children know how fiercely and unconditionally loved they are, is planting the seeds necessary for my kids to learn to treat others and themselves with love and kindness. We only get a few short years with our children. I read somewhere the other day that it’s approximately 936 weeks from the moment your child is born to the day a child graduates from high school and moves on to what’s next. Putting a number to the time we have just made it seem much more real to me and also made me realise that our days really are, well, numbered. These precious and fleeting years will set the foundation for their future. What we instill in them now will be the thought patterns that they carry with them throughout their life.
Yikes! No pressure, right?
The early dreams of Mail Your Mark were derived from this very weight that I felt as a new mother. Knowing that I wanted to help shape and nurture the mindset of my children, but not knowing where to start OR if my efforts would ever be enough? So my passion was and is to create tools to help my children and others cultivate that life of integrity and kindness. To make it easier for parents to teach these habits and ways to effortlessly implement these actions into our already busy lifestyles.
That’s why I’m so excited about our first Children’s Affirmation Clothing line. We like to call it ‘apparel with a purpose’. Not just another item to fill up your child’s wardrobe, but an item that your children can wear with pride and also serve as a reminder of all of these things that we’re trying to instill. Two birds with one stone, if you will. What busy Momma doesn’t like a little more of those? (Wink!)
If you’re like me and feel the weight of trying to help your child develop a positive mindset too, here are a few things to remember. My husband always likes to remind me that the best way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time. We may not think that anything is sinking in on day one, or 100, but by week 936 I bet your children will thank you.
01. Find teachable moments and create conversations
There are so many ways to naturally do this within our everyday lives. It can start by acknowledging what your child is feeling. Are they feeling happy? Or sad? Try to get them to explain why they feel these different emotions. When you’re watching TV together you can also help your child acknowledge the different feelings of the characters. This will teach them that they are allowed to feel all of these emotions and that it’s okay to express their feelings. Also start pointing out when others do something kind or positive for you. Something like, “Daddy cooked us a really nice meal tonight, that was really kind of him”. By starting to point out the kindness and thoughtfulness of others, it will help your child to start to look for and develop that positive attitude for themselves.
02. Set an example.
Little eyes are watching us, even when we don’t think they are. Our children start to pick up on how we handle stress and how we react to different situations. One of the most powerful ways to teach your child to have a positive attitude is to model this behaviour for them. When you accept and process your emotions in a healthy way, you teach your child to do the same. Make a choice to have a positive attitude and show your kids that you can control your emotions instead of letting situations and people dictate it for you.
03. Practice positive talk.
In a world full of chaos and clutter it’s important that we begin to speak life, love, and positivity to our children. The words that we speak to and over our children are powerful and help to set the foundation for their future. Positive affirmations contribute to a growth mindset and help children form beliefs about who they can be. This doesn’t have to look like a weighty and pressured activity, it can actually be fun. Our Children's Affirmation Cards are a great tool because they use fun and colourful characters to explain the different affirmations. Set a card out for breakfast and practice talking through it and having your children repeat it. Something my children find fun is whispering the affirmation and then shouting it at the top of their lungs. Kids learn a lot through play so making it fun is always helpful. Maybe let your child select a favorite card and display it on their mirror or nightstand? The more your child says their affirmations, the more they'll come to truly believe them, ultimately reducing negative self-talk and increasing positive thinking.
04. It’s never too early OR too late to start.
This is a biggie. Sometimes we can feel like we’ve missed the boat, but I’m here to remind you that you haven’t. Teaching your children how to handle their emotions and create a positive mindset is helpful at any age. It’s also never too early, giving your children affirmations from an early age can increase their self-worth and self-confidence. Our children know far more than we realize. My three year old told me just the other day that something was “too dangerous”. If a child can use words like “dangerous” or “triceratops” for that matter (any other dino loving kids out there?) there’s no reason that they can’t comprehend things like, “brave, strong, and kind”. As the old Chinese Proverb says, “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now." The best time to start is now. Alleviate the hard and weighty task by taking little steps everyday.