Some Affirmations I Use To Help My Kids Fall Asleep

Subliminal suggestions for the growing child.

The human brain seems purpose-built for processing language. When we’re old enough to hear sound in the womb, the brain begins to process sound. And by the time we’re born, we’re a sponge for the words spoken around us. We hear a word, process it, sort it, figure out what the word means and we remember the word.

Prior to the birth of my first child, I took note of the capacity for unborn babies to process sound. I recall that babies respond well to classical music played through the womb with headphones or speakers. So once I saw the baby bump, I would pause before going to work and take a moment to talk to my child through her mother’s belly. I’d say good morning and let her know that I’m going to work and that I’d be back later that day. I was affirming her life.

After my first child was born, I’d talk to my child when I carried her. I found that just talking to her helped her to fall asleep. And sometimes when I was in the mood, I’d sing a Beatles song. Or I’d sing all the songs I know from Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, from beginning to end. I knew the words to most of the songs on that album from one point, so I’d just sing until she was asleep. Ditto on the second child, too.

My wife was fond of cosleeping with the kids when they were infants. She didn’t like the idea of leaving them in a crib on their own. I was OK with this as it provided them with the warmth they needed during the winter and they were close to the milk when they were hungry. But my wife didn’t have an exit plan and didn’t know how to stop cosleeping. So we sort of let that solution evolve.

They still ask for help from their mother and me most nights. And we still rise to the task of helping them get to sleep in our own way. My wife found that she could just rub their back, or just be near. I found that I could talk them to sleep. But I like to do something more than just talk to them while they’re falling asleep. I speak in affirmations when they’re falling asleep.

As kids grow up, they’re learning the language and that requires processing power. At the end of a long day, they’re tired, and decision fatigue has already set in. Around bedtime, decisions are hard to make because every decision requires a discrete amount of energy to make. And that energy is in short supply for little growing bodies and brains by 8 pm. That’s why we have bedtime routines. But the one thing that the brain never stops doing, even when tired, is processing language.

Long ago, I read an article about how patients who were under anesthesia could recall conversations the doctors carried on during surgery. I think that the article was about the apparent correspondence between patient outcomes and what the doctors were saying. Anyway, I wasn’t so much concerned about the effects of surgery room banter on the patient as I was surprised that the brain was still processing sound while unconscious. I just never forgot that.

So I’m mindful of what I talk about during bedtime. I try to keep it positive. I keep my statements affirmative. Once my kids have settled down from playing to lying in bed, and the lights are out, I can start a little pep talk as they fall asleep.

I talk about the day and how it went. I suggest that whatever happened today, to let that be enough, for there is another day coming. I apologize for my mistakes if I believed that I was in error. I remind them that they can talk to me about anything, anytime. It’s never your job to make me happy, I will find my own happiness, and I will share that with you. I love you just the way you are. You don’t have to change for me, change is automatic. I will always love you, and that will never change. You can always ask for a hug, no matter what.

Sometimes I wait and come to their room much later when they’re in deep sleep and I give a similar speech, same ideas. I do this for my kids because I used to have a mind full of negative self-talk, and I want my kids to have a better experience. I want them to know that I’m there for them, not the other way around. I want them to have a repertoire of self-talk that keeps them going, that makes them an optimist. I want them to know that they are an agent of positive change.

I use subliminal affirmations on my kids so that they have a habit of self-talk that can withstand all of the negative messages they’re going to get from other people. I want my kids to be resilient from the judgment of other people. I want my kids to know that they’re lovable. I want my kids to know that they can always talk to me, even when they’ve made a big mistake. And I want them to be able to pass these skills down to their kids, too.

When my kids are falling asleep, or already asleep, I give them a message of hope and kindness that they can carry with them for the rest of their lives. I do this not because this is how the world is. I do this because this is how I want the world to be.

Write on.

Written by

Husband, father, worker, philosopher, and observer. Plumbing the depths of consciousness to find the spring of happiness. Write on.

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