The world can be an uncertain and even scary place. One of the best armours we can provide children is the ability to know what is within their control. Helping children navigate wins and losses with a positive mindset helps them brave difficult situations. Try these nine simple ways to help your kids develop a positive attitude.
9 Simple Ways to Help Your Kids Develop a Positive Attitude
1. Be a Great Role Model
A child’s first teacher is their parent. Parents provide children with the modelling needed to help them interact with their world. Parents who use a positive mindset model for children help them embrace this positive spin on doing your best. Children are sponges that take in every ounce of their world. They watch and listen to every detail, and parents provide fabulous opportunities to see what norms and standards are for acceptable behaviour.
2. Encourage and Motivate Your Kids
Help your child believe they can be their best. Encourage them to follow their dreams and think they can achieve great things in life. When your child fails, motivate them to pick themselves up and carry on – teach them that there is always a silver lining in every outcome. If they didn’t take first place in the science fair, give them a safe space to discuss disappointment. Then turn it around and help them highlight what went well. Help them take this experience and use it to fuel the next project.
3. Surround Children with positive people
Help create a positive and uplifting environment for your child. Help teach them that they are a product of the people they spend the most time. Coach them to associate with other people who think positively. From this fertile positive environment, they can move forward in helping others think positively as well.
4. Encourage Your Kids to Keep a Journal
Encourage your child to keep a journal. A kid’s journal can keep track of seemingly tiny moments of happiness, accomplishments, and disappointments. When your child records his disappointment, have him reflect on what he can learn from this experience. Praise him for recognising the lesson and taking a proactive approach to mistakes instead of dwelling on them. Promote a growth mindset and help them identify the lessons in loss and the importance of doing their best.
5. Teach Morals and Values to Your Kids
Children who learn right and wrong will have a more positive outlook on life when you teach your child morals and values from the beginning. It also helps children understand life’s rules. When your children know their values, they know that they are in the right. If they stick to morals and do the right thing, they will have no guilt, doubts, or regrets. In the absence of fear, shame, and doubt, kids will find it easier to develop a positive attitude.
6. Help Children Find the Bright Side
Life will disappoint your child. The best response for you is helping children identify how to navigate losing with grace. Children need to learn it is okay not to win, it is okay not to get the highest grade, and it is okay not to be perfect. Teach children that doing their best is always the best route to take. Helping children find the bright side shows children not to lose hope and empower their problem-solving.
7. Acknowledge Your Child’s Emotions
Help children identify the good along with the bad. We often focus on the negative and forget to acknowledge the positive. Provide children with an opportunity to identify the highs and the lows of their days. Ask them for the best thing that happened today. Help give them the words to determine what they are feeling. Teach children that no emotion is good or bad. During moments of big emotions, like tantrums, be there with the child. Help identify their feelings for them. You may help a child who dropped their ice cream by saying, “Oh no, I know you wanted that ice cream.”
When children express their feelings, Make sure to respond that you are listening to them. Once their emotions are acknowledged, you can then help them find solutions. Providing this quick redirection helps teach children to avoid simmering in one feeling. Instead, help them refocus their attention on solving the problem. For the child with the ice cream, that caregiver can ask, “what should we do about the ice cream?”
8. Give Children Freedom
Children require a circle of security. Give them enough independence to experience their world. With trust in their caregiver, they can adventure into their environment and return when they need guidance, support, or reassurance—children who can make choices develop better problem-solving skills. Fostering independence also gives children opportunities to complete tasks on their own. Tying shoelaces independently is quite a feat in childhood and saves parents time during rushed mornings.
9. Make Your Home a Positive Place
Finally, create a positive space for children to thrive. Posters with affirmations, positive quotes, or inspiring role models are perfect ways to embrace positivity. Help children find a quiet area for thought and contemplation when they are upset. Help children allow themselves to hold emotions while maintaining control of their behaviours. Honour your child with time one a day to discuss what’s going well. Help children practice thankfulness while helping them identify their strengths.
Helping children develop a positive attitude doesn’t have to be complicated. Simply redirections and daily activities can help children identify what’s going well. Even on the worst day, children should be able to locate a bright spot. Children who can openly discuss their feelings can better hold difficult emotions and then productively release them with positive outcomes. Hopefully these 9 simple ways to help your kids develop a positive attitude can help your family.
Alexandra Eidens is the founder of Big Life Journal, an engaging resource to help kids develop a resilient growth mindset so they can face life’s challenges with confidence.