Parenting Guide

Parenting Guide

What Are Self-Talk and the Inner Voice?

You’re probably very familiar with your own inner voice, but how does your child’s inner voice develop? It comes from you. Your words and tone become the inner voice your child hears when she talks to herself. You can help nurture a positive inner voice that promotes self-regulation and confidence in your child by modeling self-talk.

Self-talk is observed talk spoken to oneself. It’s your personal narrative. From birth, you can model self-talk with your child by adding words and emotions to everyday activities like dressing, bathing, playing, or eating, and in your daily comings and goings.

When you take the time to describe and narrate what occurs in the moment, you are helping support your child’s self- talk, language development, self-regulation, and self-worth.

Self-talk creates a link between your child’s inner and outer worlds. Use our tips to foster an inner helper instead of an inner critic. And remember to keep your own inner voice positive, too!

For example, Lucy is mastering a new skill: crawling!

• Mark puts his daughter Lucy on the floor and comments on Lucy’s attempts to crawl.

• As Lucy gets up to her hands and knees, Mark says, “You can do it, Lucy is working hard! Yes!”

• When Lucy collapses, her father says, “Wow, Lucy! You did it!”

• Lucy smiles at Mark and they continue this interaction until Lucy gets tired.

These early reassuring interactions serve as the basis for the development of positive self-talk. Empower your child with a healthy, happy inner voice!

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