Fort Myers speech therapists

Spread The Love: Speech Therapists’ Top Picks for Positive Affirmations for Kids

Our FOCUS Fort Myers speech therapists must admit: We were a little heartbroken upon learning there would be no more Sweethearts Conversation Candy Hearts this Valentine’s Day (MISS U!). In addition to the fact they can be used in a bunch of fun kids’ speech-language therapy exercises, we had a great idea for a special speech therapy line: TALK 2 ME. I LUV SPCH. WORD UP. LETS LINGO. I HEAR U. SLPZROCK. Not to worry, though – our  speech therapists have other ways of making you talk…

In the spirit of spreading the love (despite being candy heart-less), our speech therapists are sharing some of our favorite positive affirmations for kids. Positive affirmations are the kind of declarations that go a step beyond praise and shine a light on something that is special and inherent in that child. Instead of simply, “Nice work!” we say, “You are a hard worker!” Instead of, “Good job on that one!” we say, “You are so brave to try new things.” Rather than just, “Cool picture!” we might say, “You have such a creative mind!”

Praise and compliments obviously are great too, but positive affirmation is more specific. It shines a light on something that is both inherent and special to that person. It acknowledges the challenge and validates the effort. Positive affirmation can help a child gain the confidence to keep going – even when it gets hard. Research shows that children who receive regular positive affirmations will believe, internalize and be motivated by it. In speech therapy, we often see them excel farther and faster.

The positive affirmation boost is backed by extensive research. One analysis published in the Annals of Behavioral Medicine found that children with cancer who practiced self-affirmation were overall more optimistic and coped better, achieved goals faster and ultimately had better health outcomes. Another study by psychology professors Carnegie Mellon University found that when people are under pressure, they can actually improve their ability to problem-solve by using positive self-affirmations. And a brain scan study published in the journal Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience established that people who practice self affirmation had higher activity levels in areas of the brain associated with reward.

Our Speech Therapists’ Favorite Positive Affirmations

In building communication skills – the ability to understand and be understood – speech therapists must first spur engagement. For young children or those with significantly disparate expressive/receptive language skills compared to peers, we’ll use “communication temptations” such as a fun swing, new toy or favorite book.

But self-motivation proves a powerful driver in its own right. Some of the positive affirmations speech therapists offer our clients include:

  • You are a very good listener.
  • You are so energetic and fun!
  • You are a very creative problem solver.
  • You sure enjoy eating healthy snacks.
  • You have such a positive attitude.
  • What a great friend you are!
  • I know that was a hard thing to do, but I love that you didn’t give up.
  • I saw how you remembered to _. Really great thinking!
  • You are so responsible.
  • You really enjoy learning new things – I love it!
  • You are getting stronger and stronger every day.
  • You are so caring and thoughtful of others.
  • I love the way your mind works! There is a really special job out there for you someday.
  • You are a very skilled artist, especially with _.
  • I’m impressed by the way you took a breath and stayed calm, even when it was tough.
  • I can tell you really tried your best today because _.
  • You are really becoming a leader!
  • You can do hard things.
  • Getting it right takes a lot of practice, but you did a fantastic job not giving up.
  • You are amazing the way you are.

Whatever positive messages you convey, just make sure they are both believable and reachable. Teach your child to parrot a few of these back to you on occasion, beginning with phrases like:

  • I can…
  • This time I will…
  • I choose to…

Giving them the confidence to succeed – in our book – is one of the best ways to show your love.

FOCUS offers pediatric speech therapy in Fort Myers and throughout Southwest Florida. Call (239) 313.5049 or Contact Us online.

Additional Resources:

Dad and daughter inspire with morning affirmations, Sept. 22, 2016, By Ally Hirschlag, Upworthy, USA Today

More Blog Entries:

When a Child Doesn’t Respond to Their Name: Speech-Language Pathologist Insights, Jan. 8, 2019, FOCUS Fort Myers Speech Therapists Blog

Fort Myers speech therapists

Are My Child’s Tonsils Affecting Speech? Fort Myers Speech Therapists Weigh In

As Fort Myers speech therapists at FOCUS, when a child comes to us with speech problems or speech delays, we take a “whole child” approach. That means we consider whether the neurological, physical, mental and emotional issues that may be impacting speech patterns. Occasionally parents have asked whether tonsillitis or large tonsils can impact a child’s speech. The answer is yes, it can. In some cases, large tonsils can delay speech because the tongue ends up being pushed forward, which can result in difficulty making sounds. This, however, is not common. Nonetheless, Fort Myers speech therapists know it’s a problem must be addressed for the overall health and well-being of your child. Both your child’s pediatrician and speech therapist can weigh in to help you make the best decision when tonsils are believed to be at the root of pediatric speech delays and other problems.

Explaining  Tonsils, Tonsillitis, Enlarged Tonsils and Tonsillectomies 

Tonsils are a pair of soft tissue masses located at the back of the throat. They’re part of the lymphatic system, which helps to fight infection, with both swelling in response to infection. However, their removal (a tonsillectomy) does not appear to reduce one’s ability to fight infection.

There are a few reasons one might consider undergoing a tonsillectomy. These include acute tonsillitis (bacteria or swelling of tonsils causing a sore throat), chronic tonsillitis, abscesses, acute mononucleosis (“mono”), strep throat, tonsil stones and enlarged (hypertrophic) tonsils. The latter is usually the condition that Fort Myers speech therapists note might most frequently impact speech patterns, in addition to reducing the size of one’s airway, making snoring or sleep apnea more likely. 

Fort Myers speech therapists

Hardworking Speech Therapists Take Playtime Seriously

Pediatric speech and language therapy is hard work – best achieved through fun-and-games.

Adults tend to disregard play as a silly childhood indulgence. However, consensus among speech therapists AND child development researchers is playtime is pivotal in speech-language progress – and overall development. In fact, almost all learning in those first five years occurs in play-based exploration. Further, these skills take root much faster when adults actively participate in child-led play. 

FOCUS Fort Myers speech therapists have a treasure trove of toys, games, crafts and other fun things to encourage play, which directly spurs expressive and receptive language development. We’re also constantly on the lookout for new ideas. Sometimes we even make our own! Sometimes  playful interest is captured in the simplest forms, like mushing food, making a paper bag rattle or blowing bubbles.

Fort Myers speech therapists

Parents as “Speech Therapists”: Study Shows YOU Are Key to Child’s Success

Speech therapists at FOCUS Fort Myers study for years – first in the classroom and then for the rest of our careers in practice at our clinic – learning ways to help children master key communication skills, from appropriate conversation to phonological awareness to comprehension. We use all sorts of tools to make that happen – including puppets, games, puzzles, swings, crafts – even a ball pit! But the most effective tool? Parents!

Parental engagement in helping carry over these same strategies with their child undeniably results in better, faster progress. (And the earlier we/ you get started, the better!)

We can cite countless examples that have us convinced, but it’s backed up by peer-reviewed research too.

Parental Involvement Helps Children Make Faster Speech Therapy Progress

The American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology followed the effects of parental involvement in language intervention on children between 1.5-to-5-years-old with language impairments that were both primary (language only) and secondary (accompanied by cognitive impairment or disability). Researchers reviewed 18 previous studies examining how well children did when speech therapists offered parents specific strategies to work with their kids outside the clinic setting.