While there are pros and cons to everything, it is pretty well established that being optimistic and having high expectations is a benefit in the long run. Here are a few ways you can raise your child to be an optimist!
1. Teach them positive self-talk
It’s easy for kids to learn negative self-talk as they struggle with the ups and downs of learning about life. Losing the little league game, not doing well on a quiz at school, or making a mistake during their recital could quickly get them to be hard on themselves. Instead of focusing on the mistake, when you hear your child being negative, take the time to understand how they are feeling and ask them questions to help them think about the experience in a more positive way. Instead of focusing on the mistake, ask them to tell you about three things they did right! Help them see the good in every experience and talk about themselves in a positive way.
2. Have high expectations and give them things to do
For children to develop an optimistic, can-do attitude, it is important they have things they know they can do! Give them age-appropriate checklists, such as picking up toys or brushing their own teeth, and let them bask in the glory of being able to achieve things all by themselves. If you don’t know where to start for your child, look around a bit online for ideas about what age-appropriate chores may look like for your family. Try to involve them a little at a time, giving them the chance to fully learn one chore before another is added. If they are having a hard time, be intentional about giving them growth-centered feedback that affirms who they are and that they are capable, just still learning.
3. Practice kindness
Show your children there will always be good and kindness in the world, starting with your own actions! Volunteer at a local food pantry once a month, clean up the park when you visit, or find other ways to have a positive impact on your community. Take the extra time to practice kindness to the people and communities around you, and they will remember that goodness even when they get older and start to see the evil that exists in the world too.
Now, you are ready to help your child develop the attitude of an optimist!