Developing Positive Self Talk in School Age Children

I can do it

There has been a lot of recent buzz around the idea of the “Growth Mindset” from Carol S. Dweck. A piece of the “Growth Mindset” is developing in inner monologue of “I can”. Which ends up being how to tame the invading negative thoughts. This post is dedicated to developing the “I can” in school-age kids.

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General

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Improving Achievement Through Self-Talk – Trish Spencer

Five Key Points

In What Students Say to Themselves: Internal Dialogue and School Success (Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press, 2000), William Watson Purkey suggests the following five points to keep in mind as you try to shape students’ self-talk:

  1. What significant people think about students and how they act toward students influences how students define themselves.
  2. How students define themselves in their internal dialogue influences their academic success and failure.
  3. Everything the school does and the way things are done influences what students say to themselves.
  4. Altering how students define themselves involves altering the total school environment.
  5. The task of the school is to structure experiences that reduce crippling self-talk while inviting students to define themselves in essentially positive and realistic ways. (p. 77)

Research of Positive Self Talk

Coping Thoughts

 Stop, and breathe, I can do this
 This will pass
 I can be anxious/angry/sad and still deal with this
 I have done this before, and I can do it again
 This feels bad, it’s a normal body reaction – it will pass
 This feels bad, and feelings are very often wrong
 These are just feelings, they will go away
 This won’t last forever
 Short-term pain for long-term gain
 I can feel bad and still choose to take a new and healthy direction
 I don’t need to rush, I can take things slowly
 I have survived before, I will survive now
 I feel this way because of my past experiences, but I am safe right now
 It’s okay to feel this way, it’s a normal reaction
 Right now, I am not in danger. Right now, I’m safe
 My mind is not always my friend
 Thoughts are just thoughts – they’re not necessarily true or factual
 This is difficult and uncomfortable, but it’s only temporary
 I can use my coping skills and get through this
 I can learn from this and it will be easier next time

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Specific Strategies

Help your learner see the positive by Reframing their Thoughts in a positive light.

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STOP Plan

Scared?
Thoughts?
Other helpful thoughts?
Praise and Plan!

 Developing and Using Cognitive Coping Cards

Example of Coping Card-

My Coping Card to Beat Anxiety!
1. Anxiety is not dangerous. It can’t hurt me! It’s just a bully!
2. I can boss back my anxiety. I have done it before!
3. If my heart is racing, I get sweaty, and my tummy hurts. That means that my anxiety
is acting up. I’m not in danger.
4. I could do some relaxation now.

My Coping Card to Beat Anxiety!
1. My face is getting hot and my head is getting dizzy! My anxiety is acting up again!
2. Maybe I need to use the STOP plan now! *
3. If I’m feeling anxious, I could do some calm breathing to calm down.
4. I have lots of friends at school, and they like me even when I get anxious. They told
me so.

coping tool box

Source

power-of-positivity-workshopPOWER OF POSITIVITY PRINTABLE WORKSHOP

This is a printable workshop with a selection of activities, worksheets and craft ideas plus 30 exercises to help you develop a positive mindset.  To be used at home or in the classroom; for kids and/or adults. Cost 9.99

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Preparing Your Child for State Testing

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Every year in the spring kids all over the country take state testing. Regardless of your stance, on testing, it is a reality of our school system. With that in mind, this post is a collection of articles on how to best prepare your child for these tests.

“Cry in training, laugh on the battlefield.” — Samurai maxim

General resources

STANDARDIZED TESTING TIPS FOR PARENTS

The Night Before the Test
1. Make sure your child gets plenty of sleep the night before the test.
2. Plan ahead to avoid problems before the test so he/she doesn’t go to bed upset.
3. Tell your child you know tests can be hard, but that taking them gives him/her a
chance to show how well he/she can do.
4. Be encouraging — let your child know you think he/she will do well on the test.
5. Consider playing an educational game like Scrabble™ to help your child get into the testing spirit.
The Morning of the Test
1. Have your child get up early enough to avoid hurrying.
2. Make sure your child has a good breakfast on the morning of the test.
3. Have your child dress in something comfortable and familiar.
4. Be positive when you send your child to school.
5. Make sure he/she goes to school on the day of the test (make-ups are difficult to
arrange).
After the Test
1. Reward your child for trying hard on the test.
2. Talk with your child about what was learned from the test.
3. Talk with your child about what can be done between now and the next time a test is given to improve their performance.

When you receive your child’s test results:
1. Don’t compare his/her performance to a sibling or a friend’s child.
2. Point out your child’s strong areas and how proud you are.
3. Talk about the areas of need and how the family can work together to improve those areas.
4. Discuss with your child’s counselor any questions you or your child have about thetest or the results.

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What to do when you get the test results:

Food for thought

Test Anxiety

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Yerkes-Dodson law suggests that elevated arousal levels can improve performance up to a certain point. Learn more about how this works and why sometimes a little bit of stress can actually help you perform your best. Source

Test Anxiety Reducers

Adopt positive thoughts. Negative thoughts about performance can affect test taking. Sian Beilock’s research at the University of Chicago found teaching kids to reframe negative feelings about test taking can impact test scores. So teach your child one of these techniques (and do teach in advance…not the morning of the test!)

Challenge each negative idea by finding evidence that it’s not always true.

Child: “I always do badly on tests.” You: “Practicing your flash cards boosted your spelling grade on Friday.”

Child: “I won’t remember anything.” You: “Eating a good breakfast seemed to sure helped improve your memory for your last math test.”

Reframe negative thoughts. Teach your child to erase “bad thoughts” with positive ones about test-taking. Instead of: “I hate taking tests.” Say: “I’m really psyched up for this test.

Shift stress views. Your child may get sweaty palms or a pounding heart before taking a test but remind him that he can get those same signs from enjoyable experiences like riding a tilt-a-whirl or watching a close baseball game.

Use anxiety-reducers

Research shows that using a relaxation strategy can reduce test anxiety. Here are possibilities to teach your child a few weeks before the big test then do on the morning of the test:

Self-talk: Repeat a relaxing phrase silently such as: “It’s only a test.” “I don’t have to be perfect.” Or “I’ll worry later, but I’m going to focus on the test now.

Deep breathing: Take a three by three: Breathe in slowly to a count of three then exhale slowly to a count of three. Repeat the deep breathing strategy at least three times.

Visualize a calm scene: Close your eyes and imagine a calm peaceful place (a park, beach, tree house) that the child has experienced and brings a smile to his face.

Write your anxiety away. The morning of the test, encourage your child to take 5-10 minutes to write all his concerns about the test (“I’ll forget the answers…I’ll flunk….I won’t have enough time”) on paper.

A study published by Dr. Beilock and  co-author, Gerardo Ramirez, found the writing technique  used by a group of ninth graders prior to a biology final, worked both in the lab and in classrooms to reduce test anxiety. Encourage your child to use that strategy during another stressful situation such as at a sleepover or a family reunion. Model it yourself around your kids such as when your soufflé isn’t rising or the computer won’t boot.

Or make it a family affair: “Let’s practice those deep breaths at bedtime.” Practicing in real life will improve the chance the test-taking strategy will succeed. Besides, the more your child “sees” that strategy, the more likely he will use it.

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