Welcome to 2021, friends, and wow, doesn’t it feel nice to be here! In so many ways, this year’s new years celebration felt like it took a DECADE to arrive and it seemed extra important to begin 2021 with an expression of self-appreciation, because omg…we MADE IT.
I have never taken the tradition of New Year’s resolutions very seriously, but especially after all of last year’s challenges, something about starting 2021 off with an unrealistic goal or opportunity for self-scolding felt like cruel and unusual punishment. I needed a kinder, gentler custom, drenched in self-love and optimism.
A few years ago I gifted myself a subscription to a monthly art-filled newspaper from a brilliant independent publishing company (The Smudge – check it out. It’s fantastic!). Each issue included a small surprise insert and among my favorites was a sweet little 6-page zine of affirmations.
This last year, while unpacking from a move, I happened to run across the little book at the bottom of a box, thumbed through the pages, and set it by my desk to revisit. The next morning, I found myself flipping through it again: “while my heart radiates warmth, with our hands held tight we will move forward.” Though I’m not typically one for affirmations or mantras, there was something about that lovingly handwritten note that calmed my breath and lifted a subconscious weight. And so I found myself reading through the book the morning after that, and again the next week, throughout spring’s Covid lockdowns, into June’s protests, until months later I realized it had become a treasured and important part of my morning routine.
Inspired by the peace and self-reassurance that little book has provided me each morning, I designed a set of positive affirmations prompts. On New Year’s Eve, we rang in 2021 filling in the blanks and putting together our very own handmade books of positive affirmations.
Set up as printable pages that you can fold into an instant book OR cut apart for sets of individual cards, this free kit is designed to help your kids (or yourself!) practice self-appreciation, self-encouragement, and personal emotional care. Exercises like these affirmations can help your kids build resilience, learn self-compassion, empathy & connection, and navigate times of isolation or loneliness.
Read on for the link to the free printable kit, ways to create, customize and practice your affirmations, and tips for helping kids get the most out of this activity!
For your own DIY positive affirmation book you’ll need:
Note: We prefer to shop locally or use what we have at home, but this list contains a few Amazon affiliate links for reference. As Amazon Associates we make a small commission on qualifying purchases.*
- White cardstock
- Our Free Printable Positive Affirmations Book Kit
DIY Positive Affirmation Book Instructions:
- Download and print our book pages
Download our free printable DIY positive affirmations book kit and print the desired pages. You can also just skip this step and grab a blank sheet of paper or cardstock.
You can print our positive adjective page to use as stickers or a word example sheet to help kids fill in the affirmation prompts.
- Fold into a book or cut into individual cards
We’ve designed our printable book pages so they can be quickly and easily folded into a mini book or cut apart to create individual cards.
If you prefer to create your own affirmation book from scratch, you can simply fold a piece of paper in half length-wise, then in half again width-wise to create a folded mini book (just like folding up a homemade card).
- Fill in the affirmation prompts
Our printable kit pages are designed as prompts to help kids craft their own positive affirmations. Using their own written-in words, our positive word adjective stickers, or a combination of both, let your kids fill in the blanks.
You can also use the blank template pages (or a plain sheet of paper) to help your children craft their very own affirmation phrases.
Our affirmation book kit includes a few different book designs – from colorful shape designs to text-only pages. These options give kids the choice to start with colorfully engaging pages, or completely customize the style of their book.
Add stickers, draw in doodles, drench in glue & eco-glitter – this step is an important one for little learners who want the look of their book to be all their own.
- Read regularly!
When and how often you check-in and read through your affirmation book is totally up to you. You can create a routine or simply use when needed.
While our affirmation book kit was designed with younger kids in mind, this is an exercise everyone can benefit from, and you can use or modify pieces to create a variation that works for you. Some kids, for example, may want to simply use our imagery as inspiration for their own phrases and design a book completely from scratch.
I like to read my affirmation book to myself silently in the morning right before work, but your kids/family/self may prefer reading affirmations out loud, into a mirror, or before bed. The best part of these is that YOU get to practice this in a way that makes YOU feel best!
A few tips for making and using affirmation books with kids…
I am so lucky to have a psychologist in the family who can provide some professional advice for best practices when using these with kids (thanks mom!). Here are a couple of tips to remember as you put your own books together…
- Resist the desire to fill in the blanks for your child or suggest which words they should use. With affirmation exercises, it’s incredibly important that the child pick the words they prefer to use – words that feel realistic to them. Your suggestions can create a sense of expectation that may ultimately defeat the purpose. Allowing this activity to be child-led ensures they’re creating affirmations they feel comfortable with.
- Let your kids shape their affirmation routine. You can help facilitate a sense of independence and personal purpose by letting your child set their own routine for practicing their affirmations. For example, you may want to suggest that they practice once daily, or maybe even once or twice weekly, but give them the space to choose when, where, and how.
- Let the activity evolve. Rather than going into this activity with a goal or specific successes in mind, allow yourself to go with the flow and see what happens. You may present this activity to a less-than thrilled kiddo one day, only to attempt it again a few days later with great success.
- Listen. Making these affirmation books alongside your child can provide valuable insight into what your kiddo is thinking, how they feel about themselves, challenges they may be facing, or specific worries. You might also find your child would prefer to make these on their own – that’s okay too!
Other ways to use our DIY affirmation book printable…
- Cut apart the pages to make individual cards you can put in lunch boxes, slide into school books, or hide in secret spots around the house.
- Use our adjective sheet to help your kids learn new description words and expand their (postitive!) vocabulary.
- Cut the pages into individual cards, laminate and use with a dry erase marker for prompts that can be reused and changed every week or month.
We’d love to see how you’re using these little book pages, and the affirmations you come up with! If you snap and share pics, be sure to tag us (@barleyandbirch or #barleyandbirch) so we can give your amazing creations a shout-out on Instagram!
*A note about Amazon affiliate links: We strive to use simple, earth-friendly supplies that can be purchased locally whenever we can, but sometimes we find the best universally available options, a rare eco-friendly find, or a niche product only available on Amazon. When included in our supply list, these products are affiliate links, and if you click-through to make a purchase, we receive a small commission that helps us re-order these supplies!