NEW ORLEANS – At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2021, Tracey Wiley was working from home and trying to manage virtual school with her then 5-year-old daughter Ella and 7-year-old son Everett. While Ella was able to handle the new school-at-home structure, Everett was finding the shift a bit more challenging.
While he was in class one day, Wiley noticed Everett getting frustrated. With that frustration came doubt and with the doubt came a meltdown. “He didn’t understand a problem his teacher was explaining and really came down on himself,” Wiley recalled. “That scared me because hearing my child speak ill of himself was heartbreaking.”
This was when she realized the importance of helping her son to understand the power of his words and finding way to build up his confidence. She aimed to stop any negative self-talk that could potentially manifest itself into Everett forming negative beliefs about him.
“That day I said, ‘not my baby!’”
That was the start of a journey of positivity and validation to uplift her son. Everett and his mother began saying daily affirmations like, I am loved, I am a smart kid, I will turn my dreams into reality and I have so much to offer the world. After they said them to one another, Wiley would ask Everett if he believed the words he was speaking and how the affirmations made him feel.
“This was a game-changer because it opened up a conversation about why, why he’s a great kid, why he’s smart or why he’s important,’ Wiley said. “Listening to him talk positively about himself made me excited, so excited that we started coming up with our own affirmations to say to each other.”
Soon the mother and son went from sharing their abundance of positivity with one another, to wanting so share it with other children and families. In March, they launched The Cool Kids Collective, which is a full deck of affirmation cards designed specifically for kids. Everett, designed the superhero-inspired affirmation card deck with a little help from his mom, to help motivate and empower kids just like him. Their mission is to help kids release their inner superhero with the power of positive thinking.
“When Everett and I decided to do this together, I wanted him to understand the power that he has as a child. I told him that there are so many kids out there that get frustrated and sometimes they just need a little reminder to help them out, and he could help,” Wiley explained.
The now third-grade Everett gave his mom a list of affirmations that he wanted to include in the card deck, so “kids can stop being negative and start being positive,” Everett said. “I want kids to smile when they read their affirmations, so they had to be colorful and fun,” he said about the colors as well as the design idea that he created for the cards.
As a parent, Tracey believes it is her job to inspire and uplift her children and to teach them that they must love and believe in themselves before anyone else.
“I’m no child psychologist, but I know firsthand how speaking positive affirmations to a child and adult helps them,” Wiley said.
When the mother-son business partners launched the Cool Kids Collective, they sold out of the affirmation cards in two days and have received great reviews from their customers.
“This was our confirmation that what we were doing was important and needed. We hope that our cards can help kids just like Everett tap into their inner superheroes with the power of positive thinking.”
As for Everett, he likes being in business with his mom because he can spend more quality time with her and said simply it’s fun!”
“It helped me become positive,” he said. “Before I was like 10 percent positive. Now I’m like 100 percent positive.”
For more information on the Cool Kids Collective, visit the Etsy store. To schedule an interview with Tracey and Everett, email Tracey@traceywiley.com.