How to foster positive thinking in your children
Created by Shikha Batra Updated on Feb 02, 2021
Mohan - “Mom this broken arm hurts. It is making me feel miserable. "
Mom- “I can understand it hurts and it makes you feel upset. Let us do some cool things with the cast. How about we all draw something on it which makes you feel better. "
The above mentioned anecdote is an example of how by looking at the bright side of a situation Mohan's mother could not only acknowledge he is in pain but also make him feel better.
Life does not always go the way we plan, so disappointment is inevitable. As parents it becomes important for us to teach our children that we cannot control everything. So we need to help them learn how to navigate their emotions and cope with disappointment. This can be done by fostering positive thinking in our children. Positive thinking refers to looking for good around oneself and by no means refers to ignoring the negative. On the contrary, it means perceiving situations or others in a constructive manner. Developing a positive attitude and by keeping their thoughts positive early on in life will help children face challenges they encounter with strength and hope.
Ten power packed tips which will help us develop positive thinking in our children include:
1. To spread positivity, parents need to be positive themselves: Only if we see ourselves the glass as half full and not as half empty can we develop positive thinking in our children. Just by preaching and doing lip service would not have an impact on children and chances are they would not take us seriously and might follow our footsteps on the path to negativity.
2. Help them develop a balanced approach towards life: While children feel being on cloud nine on achieving success, they feel equally disappointed when they fail in their attempts. It becomes important for us parents to teach them to learn to deal with both success and failure in a balanced way. Trying and retrying until they succeed and with perseverance they can achieve success should be the mantra adopted by them rather than getting disheartened by failure.
3. Confidence breeds positivity: Nurture a hobby in your child by encouraging them to try and explore their own interests and to find out what it is that they love doing. This will give an immense personal satisfaction to the child and add meaning to their life. For instance, if your child likes playing guitar, encourage him / her to take up guitar classes. By doing what they love to, would develop confidence thereby breeding positivity in them.
4. Let your child know you are with them no matter what: Unconditional love is what our children need irrespective of their performance in class, or how good they are at extracurricular activities. Hug them often, kiss them, laugh with them and show them a lot of affection. This will make them feel good and wear a smile on their face always which is essential for spreading positivity.
5. Change 'I Can't "to' I can 'by motivating them. Failures do dishearten us and make us think negative before trying again. So we need to remind our children time and again, failures are inevitable and they do not define our self worth. They just indicated to us that we need to think again though differently this time and try again until we succeed.
6. Teach them to cultivate a positive attitude in life: No matter how negative the situation around them is, even with all the negativity around, teach them to be firmly rooted to their ground of positivity. Show them the bright side of situations so that they stay positive.
7. Allow them to indulge in a recreational activities for a stipulated time: Allow your child to do any activity that he or she like the most such as playing games, watching a video or connecting with friends and family on digital platforms. This will not only give them the required break but would also rejuvenate them to do more. Besides, they will feel happy and will have something to look forward to everyday.
8. Celebrate their creativity and originality: Sometimes a novel idea might not seem interesting to parents and they might call it a waste of time and effort. Doing so will not only demotivate the child but would rob him of all his enthusiasm and he is unlikely to experiment again with his novel ideas in future. Repeatedly doing so might kill creativity and originality in them. Encourage your child's creativity and motivate them to do better which will enhance not only positive thinking in them but also creativity and originality in them.
9. Reframe negative talk: During times of stress we tend to indulge in negative self-talk which breeds pessimism and undercuts resilience. So as a parent our responsibility is to empathize with them and redirect their negative talk into actionable plans which can help them feel in control of the situation.
10. Teach them values like gratitude and compassion: Human values such as gratitude and compassion are of utmost importance and help develop a positive attitude in children by spreading positivity around.
Here are a few everyday activities by which parents can instill positive attitude in their children:
Treasure Hunt: Tell him to do any simple activity such as visiting a park and look for things that make him happy. Things like petting a dog, watching the beautiful flowers on the sidewalk, or even waving to a friend and playing with him. Practicing this on a daily basis wherein the child looks for simple things which are otherwise ignored can not only make him happy but also add value and meaning to his everyday life.
Jar of Positivity: A simple exercise to remember and value the positive things in our life would be wherein all family members write the positive things that they have experienced in the past one week on pieces of paper, filling the jar. They can take out the slips and read it out every alternate Sunday or once a month as per the consensus within the family members. It would be surprising to note how many positive events take place in our lives which are so easily forgotten.
Maintaining a happiness journal: Encourage your child to keep a track of all moments of cheer, accomplishments no matter how tiny they might seem, as well as disappointments. Have him reflect on what he learnt from them rather dwelling on his mistakes and praise him for taking a proactive approach.
Following the gratitude ritual: Practice dinner time gratitude exercise everyday wherein each family member states what they are thankful for that day. This would help them appreciate and value what they have rather than crib about what they don't. Besides it would make them all feel happy about themselves by focusing on the brighter side of their lives.
Amidst terror, violence and suffering and negativity all around us it becomes important for us parents to strive to teach our children the art of brimming with optimism and the power to stay positive no matter what. Also it would not be possible for us parents to protect our children from facing failures and disappointments, we can always help them navigate through tough times in their lives by teaching them the art of positive thinking!