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Leah Davies
The Teacher Counselor

Encouraging Thoughts

Encouragement means to stimulate initiative and positive actions. Teachers, counselors, and parents are expected to encourage children to do their best by acknowledging their efforts and strengths. However, when children do not feel good about themselves or their situation, they need to be reminded of ways they can encourage themselves and each other.

Ask your students for examples of thoughts that sometimes help them feel better when they are unhappy. Explain that helpful thoughts are called positive "self talk," and that adults often use self-talk to help them cope with their problems. List on the board ideas that children share. Their encouraging self-talk ideas might include the following examples:

  • I am a good person, no matter what anyone else does or says.
  • It is okay to make mistakes because everyone does.
  • I do not give up; I keep trying.
  • I think about what is good in my life.
  • Everyone feels good and bad, now and then.
  • I can do it!
  • Money cannot buy happiness.
  • How I act is more important than how I look.
  • I am lovable.
  • When I smile, I feel better.
  • I can do many things well.
  • I cannot control what grown-ups do.
  • I am unique, one of a kind.
  • When I feel sad, I think of things I like about myself.
  • Each new day brings a chance to do better.
  • I think about my choices and then choose what is best for me.
  • I will change what I can, and I will accept what I cannot change.
  • I treat others the way I want to be treated.
  • I cannot change my family; I can only change myself.
  • What I learn today will help me in the future.

After making an extensive list, have each child choose positive self-talk statement that is meaningful to him/her. Ask students to create a picture or poster that features their saying. Have them prominently sign their creation. Then divide into small groups or pairs and have the children discuss their work. Caution students to be respectful of each other's ideas. Display the results in the classroom or in the hall to challenge all children to use positive "self-talk" that will encourage them to do their best.


Article by Leah Davies, M.Ed.
Reprinted with permission from the
Kelly Bear website,


Originally published 09/15/2008
Last updated 09/27/2017