Starting by talking about positive and negative self talk is a great way to introduce the topic. The idea of having an “inner coach” that builds us up and an “inner critic” that puts us down is something that kids can relate to.
Brainstorm and create a T-chart with things inner coaches might say (ex., “You are really good at drawing; I love how you’re using so many colours!” or “You can’t quite do the math challenge yet, but I know you work hard, and you’ve done hard things before!”) and what their inner critics might say (ex., “You’re terrible at soccer, why don’t you just quit now!” or “You have always been bad at math, you’ll never get better.”). You may have to model the first few examples, but try to get as many authentic ideas from the students.
Next, discuss ways to quiet the “negative self talk monster” or defeat the “inner critic”. What are things you could say to your inner critic to silence him or her? (ex., “I may not be great at soccer yet, but I really enjoy it and I know practice will help me get better!). Tackle all the inner critic ideas kids had and as a group come up with ways to silence the critic. This could also be a role play activity.
Another activity, similar to the “worry monsters” activity in the “Worries” section, is to have students draw their “negative self talk monster” and some of the speech bubbles they say with responses in a different coloured speech bubble that will silence or defeat the comment.