Inner coach

The way children learn to talk to themselves has a big impact on their overall development as well as their ability to manage their worries.


What does the voice in your head tell you?

Does it say yes, I am going to succeed, I just have to try harder. Or does it tell you you’re going to fail?

What voice do you listen to?

What if they stop being your friend? So many ways this could go wrong!


What does your child’s inner coach sound like?


What is your Inner Coach?

Your Inner coach refers to positive self-talk.

It’s the voice in your head encouraging you to keep going, or it’s your inner critic telling you to give up.

How you talk to yourself has a bigger impact on your overall well-being than most people realize. Parents play a big role in shaping their child’s inner voice.

Why do some people have a louder Inner Critic?

It’s normal to have a positive and negative inner voice.

Our negative voice is often the louder voice. People are wired this way for survival.

Children struggling with worries often have a loud inner critic.

Learning to be kind to yourself, and encouraging with your self-talk can be an effective way to manage anxiety.

How does helping my child learn to listen to their Inner Coach help them manage their anxieties?

A positive inner coach can:
☻ A positive inner coach can build confidence.
☻ It gives a child courage to try something new.
☻ Positive self-talk can help them manage their worries.
☻ It encourages them to try again instead of having their mistakes defeat them.

How can I help my child develop a strong Inner Coach?

☻ Be positive. Encourage your child to look at the good in a situation and not always focus on the negative.
☻ Be a good inner coach role model. Your words of encouragement are shaping their inner self-talk. Be careful with your negative words!
☻ Teach your child to be kind to themselves.

Watch this video on Inner Coach

Emmet is is discouraged when he can’t catch a ball. He hates his feathers –he’s the worst. He tells himself he will never catch the ball … maybe he needs to listen to his inner coach.

Things to remember when encouraging your child to listen to their Inner Coach:

☻ Stay patient and positive. Learning to listen to your Inner coach takes practice.
☻ Validate how your child is feeling.
☻ Acknowledge your child is having a hard time. Remind them you are there to help.
☻ Engage your child in finding solutions to help them listen to their inner coach, instead of their inner critic.

The way you talk to your child
shapes their self-talk!

Creating a Plan

  • Creating a plan helps you and your child work together to manage big feelings in the future.
  • Print off the plan on the kids page << Listen to your cheerleader >> and come up with a plan together.
  • Take the plan with you ( print off or on your phone) so you can remember what you need to do when emotions start to rise. Don’t forget to bring Poppy for some extra support!

You can use this plan to explain to family, friends or care givers how you and your child are working together to overcome big feelings. Use it to communicate to your child’s school or family doctor too!

Things to remember when building a plan:

  • Prep: Go over the day/event. What is expected? What will you do? What do you need your child to do? What can you both do together?
  • Print off the plan and take it with you so everyone remembers what they need to do.
  • What are the important things to remember? The key parts of the plan?
  • Determine the tough point. When does it get difficult? What are we going to do when that happens?
  • Yes to success? or Maybe next time? What do we need to do differently, or do we just need more practice? Even the best plans still need practice sometimes.

The Plan (example)

Working together to:

Manage big feelings at the soccer game

What happened?


  • Talk about the upcoming soccer game
  • Talk about all the positive things that will be part of the game: playing with friends, trying out new moves that they’ve practiced
  • Talk about how their inner coach will help them deal with mistakes
  • What will they do when they make a mistake? How will they talk to themselves?
  • How can you help

The soccer game

How did I react

Parent- what will be my role in this plan:

  • Stay calm and be supportive
  • Remind your child to listen to their inner coach
  • If they make a mistake and need support, remind them of the positives, don’t focus on the negative.
  • Ask your child to let you know what their inner voice is telling them. Help them to hear their inner coach

March 18. 2024

What can I do instead?

Child- What will my role be in this plan:

  • Talk about what you are looking forward to during the soccer game
  • What are you going to do if you make a mistake
  • Talk before about how your inner coach can encourage you and what they can say when you start to hear your inner critic

Look for opportunities to practice problem-solving in everyday life with your child so you are ready to use those skills when they are faced with a challenge.

Now It’s your turn!

  • Don’t forget to collaborate with your child and validate their feelings
  • Go to the kids page and help your child work through the activities in the Emmet library #10 << Listen to your cheerleader >>
This is your chance to work with your child to come up with a plan for next time. Work through the activities on this kids page together. They have been designed to help you start a conversation. Come up with a plan that works for everyone.

The important thing is you are trying and you’re working together.