Help and AdviceTutoringpositive affirmations

by Brisbane Tutor Justin Clark

The last year has been a strange and difficult time for all of us, with many big life changes and new routines having to be adapted to quickly. However, something incredibly positive that has come out of it is the increased spotlight on self-care, particularly of our minds. There are countless ways to practice self-care, but the strategy we’re going to discuss today is positive affirmations, which are particularly good for building confidence and a strong sense of self-worth.

Mental Health and Children with Learning Difficulties

It’s known that children with learning disabilities or difficulties commonly suffer from low self-confidence and low self-esteem, which can be precursors to mental health issues like anxiety and depression. According to the Mental Health Foundation, children with learning disabilities are four and a half times more likely to have a mental health problem, and 54% of people who have a learning disability have a mental health problem. Mental health disorders can have a substantial impact on children’s day to day lives and their future, so it’s imperative that we address these issues as soon as we can. Prevention in the form of confidence building happens in many ways, one of which is positive affirmations.

What are Positive Affirmations?

Affirmations are short positive phrases with the goal of actively practicing positive thinking and self-empowerment, and challenging negative self-talk. Positive affirmations are also backed by neuroscientific research, with multiple studies finding that they decrease stress and make us more receptive to handling threatening messages. They’re also supported by psychological theory, namely Steele’s self-affirmation theory, which presented empirical evidence to support the idea that we can use positive statements to maintain our self-integrity.

Positive affirmations are a great habit to build into children’s lives and are easily adjustable for different ages and goals. They can be as simple as “I am kind”, “I respect myself” or “I am proud of myself” or slightly longer, such as “I am learning and growing”, “I deserve to feel good about myself” and “the challenges I face are opportunities to grow and improve”. There are some awesome physical affirmation cards out there specifically designed for kids, and also apps, like I AM, that give you a new affirmation each day, which is a wonderful way to start the day positively, and can also be a great family activity to engage in collectively.

Why do we need Positive Affirmations?

In our culture, children are often taught not to ‘boast’, and that while it’s great to praise others, praising oneself is interpreted as vain, self-centred or ‘big-noting’, which communicates to children that to be humble one must not acknowledge their own successes. While the goal of these teachings is often to remove comparative talk, it is important for people to understand that acknowledging the strengths, skill, or achievement of one person does not diminish anyone else. Positive affirmations are designed specifically for people to focus on themselves and recognise their inherent worth.


Positive affirmations build self-esteem and motivate people to compound upon their successes. This is particularly important for children with learning difficulties because they can often feel defeated in the classroom when they seem to have to work harder than others to achieve the same result, and our school system often recognises academic success over effort or improvement. Having a strong sense of self-worth can aid children in celebrating their own successes and improve their abilities to lift up those around them.


Resilience is an attribute that is valuable across life in helping one manage setbacks and face challenges, and positive affirmations are really helpful to support children in building this trait. Having strong self-confidence improves our ability to cope with failure and be able to learn from our mistakes, as it gives us the ability to remain open to success after disappointment.

In a similar vein, as positive affirmations are all about your inherent value as a person, they can help us to build the confidence to ask for help. When we are able to stop seeing the inability to complete a task as a problem with ourselves, and instead view it as a skill or piece of knowledge to learn, it makes it easier and less embarrassing for children to ask for help, particularly those with learning difficulties who may need assistance more often.

Growth Mindset

Positive affirmations also help to support the facilitation of a growth mindset by focusing on the positive. Having a growth mindset is incredibly valuable for learning and life because it primes us to be open and motivated to learn, and lowers performance anxiety. Similarly, positive affirmations also encourage us to be grateful and focus on the positive aspects of our days, which reduces stress and makes people happier overall.

Challenging Negative and Unhelpful Thoughts

The disruption of negative thinking patterns is another benefit of positive affirmations. Actively practicing self-care and self-love in this way combats unhelpful thoughts and redirects us towards appreciating the things we can do. This focus on positives helps to build perseverance through concurrently increasing motivation and resilience which makes us less likely to give up in the face of adversity. Clearly, this is an incredibly useful skill for children to have, especially for children who are likely to face more frequent obstacles in a school environment compared to their peers. 

Encouraging an optimistic mindset with positive affirmations helps children get used to identifying their strengths rather than focusing on their weaknesses. This will make them better at solving issues they encounter, as they will be more likely to concentrate on the solution rather than the problem, and will be able to approach it with greater confidence in their abilities.

Positive affirmations are a simple and powerful way to increase self-worth and self-esteem, which helps children to tackle the situations they face with confidence and surety that they really can do it! You might be surprised yourself at the extent to which saying a few words can have a positive impact on your day, so we encourage you to give this one a go; “I am smart, strong, brave and beautiful and today is going to be a good day”.

Hope Tutoring led by Justin Clark specialises in tutoring students with learning difficulties. Contact us today if you are looking for a Tutor in Brisbane or someone who can do remote tutoring.