Teaching kids about positive thinking is probably one of the best ways to prepare them for life challenges they will have to deal with throughout life. If you teach your children how to be positive early in life, you will create a healthy habit of positive attitude, successful problem solving and build powerful coping skills. All these skills are very helpful to ease the pressure and stress of both growing up and adulthood.
Teaching kids to be positive is teaching them to have a good life
A positive view of life is a proven protective factor in dealing with stressful situations. Kids who are able to see the future optimistically are less likely to follow negative influences and exhibit less self-destructive behavior (smoking, drugs, alcohol) than kids with low expectations of what the future might bring.
Positive thinking for kids can be reinforced by caregivers (parent, teachers), but also by authority figures who children perceive as their role model (favorite uncles, aunts, older cousins, friends etc).
Teaching kids about positive behavior by being a good example of a positive person
Kids learn more by watching and copying your actions, rather than listening and following your words. Use this in a positive way and demonstrate daily:
-how to see the good side in any situations
-how to build positive thoughts and turn away from negative ones
-how to choose better words and improve the way you communicate with others
-how to recognize and appreciate opportunities from which you can learn to be a better person instead of crying, feeling overwhelmed or angry etc.
You can use small opportunities (i.e. fights between siblings, adversities between peers) to teach kids how to overcome negative emotions and keep a positive attitude. Teaching kids to be positive will benefit not only children, but you too through growing better parenting skills, being able to remain calm and control your reactions in stressful situations.
It is said that positive thinking is not about controlling life events, but being able to control your reaction to what happens.
Create opportunities to get them involved and active in positive attitude
Create attitude lessons through having fun, playing or acting. Ask them to describe in their own words what makes a person pleasant or unpleasant. With whom would they like to spend more time, who is more interesting, who is more fun, with whom would they rather talk, play with etc. Encourage them to imagine how they would reframe their own attitudes to change feeling bad into feeling good. Help them discover positive solutions for those unpleasant situations, and then let them experience and verbalize positive feelings emerged from successful problem solving.
Another game you can play while teaching kids positive thinking is testing how inner monologues affect us. Ask them to repeat again and again things like “I am bad at sports” or “Everyone understands math in school better than me” and then have them say the opposite, i.e. “I’m doing great at sports and I will be even better. Sports are amazing” and “I am good at math and I want to know even more. Math is so interesting”. Ask them how those words changed the way they feel (from bad to good).
Increasing confidence and strengthening positive environment
You may be surprised how teaching kids about positive attitude will improve family relations and make everyone happier.
Make sure kids know you appreciate them; lots of hugs and kisses, kind appreciating words and plenty of affection – all this will bring joy and happy feelings to both you and them.
If your kids are good at something, let them explore it even more and become better. Encourage hobbies and activities they enjoy doing, it will increase their confidence and sense of worth. Appreciate and reward their efforts to become better at something.
Keep a positive environment at home; watch funny movies, listen to funny songs, share funny jokes. Laughter changes the brain’s chemistry and shifts us from feeling bad to feeling good.
Teaching kids bedtime prayers is another beneficial way to strengthen the positive environment in your family.
If you just take time to observe, you will see there are hundreds of opportunities daily, which you can put to good use teaching kids to discover the power of positive thinking.