Teaching Kids Compassionate Self-Talk

Last Sunday I had the privilege of talking with some young children about how to talk to themselves compassionately when they do something wrong. There were about 12 kids there and it was so fun to talk with them.

I started by asking,

“How many of you have broken something important of your mom or dad’s, or a special toy?”  All the hands went up! They shared that they felt, sad, bad and scared they’d get in trouble.

I then shared something that happened to me last week, and talked about how I was able to be kind, rather than mean to myself.

I just ate a big salad in my favorite white bowl. It’s the bowl I use every day and I’ve had it about 20 years. I was walking into the kitchen to put it in the sink, and all of a sudden, I dropped it! I was distracted by something, and down it went…crash into a thousand pieces. There were sharp pieces of glass everywhere. You couldn’t even tell it used to be a bowl because there were so many pieces. I felt so bad I did it, and I also felt bad I had to clean I all up. Ugh!

I also noticed I started to say mean things to myself like, “You’re so stupid, you should have been more careful, how could you do this?” Then I started feeling even worse.

I stopped myself from saying mean things to myself, and instead said, “No, you’re not going to talk to yourself like this.”

Tell yourself the truth:

  • I did drop the bowl and broke it
  • I didn’t mean to, everyone makes mistakes
  • I’m not stupid or bad
  • It is sad that I dropped my favorite bowl, but I didn’t do it on purpose.
  • It’s amazing I didn’t drop it before now.
  • I’m going to be a good friend to myself and not beat myself up for making a mistake.
  • I’ll try to not be distracted in the future
  • I’m still a nice person, I just dropped this bowl.
I wanted these kids to know that all of us do things wrong…every day. Click To Tweet

A lot of us say mean things to ourselves when we break stuff or get in trouble. It makes them feel worse, so it’s better to say:

  • I did the wrong thing
  • I’m sorry
  • I’ll try to be more careful next time
  • I’ll ask God to help me
  • I’m a good kid who made a mistake
I encouraged them to remember that making mistakes doesn’t make you a bad kid, it makes you a great kid who made a mistake. Click To Tweet

It’s important to be nice to yourself when you make mistakes.

I enjoyed talking with them and thought this lesson might be an encouragement to you too. After I shared with them I also talked with the congregation too. I was able to sit down and have a conversation with the pastor, about some important topics. I’ll share more with you about this soon.

Here’s the 7-minute video of my talk. You can’t see the kids because of privacy issues, but they were all sitting on the steps just below me with rapt attention.

So, What do you think?

What touched you the most about what I shared? What difference would it make to you to talk to yourselves with compassion when you fail? How about making 2018 a year of showing yourself compassion?

Please leave a comment below, and share with those who could benefit via e-mail or on social media.


13 thoughts on “Teaching Kids Compassionate Self-Talk

  1. Great message for kids! And for the parents in the congregation. We are way too quick to jump to condemnation whether it is self condemnation or of those we love the most. “You are getting so careless.” “You always. . .” etc., etc. Can you imagine how healthy kids will grow up to be if those tapes don’t get recorded in their little psyches? Your new book is going to make a difference to so many.

  2. It was wonderful to see you and hear you sharing such helpful and healing words with those children….and with us! Thank you! I find opportunities to show myself compassion more and more these days as life gets more demanding and frustrating. In doing that, I find that extending compassion and being gracious to others comes much more easily.
    Love you!

  3. This was wonderful, Kim. I can so relate. The first thing I do is start beating up on myself when something happens. Your books have been so helpful. Remembering to be kind to myself is a work in progress.

  4. Hi Kim, you are so wonderful talking with the kids. I used to write children’s church curriculum for a major publisher and if I still were I would want to incorporate these truths into a lesson. Saying that because I wonder if there’s an avenue for that now. ALSO have you thought about doing a simple book for children? A book or coloring/activity book with these truths would be great. I could assist on those, or share ideas if needed.

    Let’s get this truth out to everyone!
    You are such a blessing! Thanks for all who are and all you do!

  5. Dear Kim, so special listening to you sharing with the children this past Sunday👍💖💖👫. You voice so loving and kind, you could tell by their responses YOU were connecting😉
    Breaking things has always been hard for me, I have been hard on myself, this was a GOOD one for ME!! Thankyou💖 Prayers continue

  6. You communicated well with the children. I can always use the reminder. Thank you for sharing the video. Seeing and hearing carries the message more to my brain and heart.

    1. I am so grateful to you, Kim, for setting this example and giving us these tools to help us become as compassionate with ourselves as we are to othersI am pretty hard on myself and am going to work on this until it becomes second nature. It is not easy as just yesterday I had a huge setback. I am listening to your cd too, to help me with this journey. It is beautifully done and yet another blessing you have given. With admiration and prayers, Jeanne.

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