As a parent, hearing your child wallow in feelings of anger, self-doubt, sadness, or anger and express negative thoughts makes your heart sink. Unfortunately, it’s scientifically natural for people to dwell more on negative thoughts than positive ones, and children are no exception.
The negativity is propelled by shame, fear, or doubt that generates stress chemicals in the brain. Ultimately, a negative attitude molds a child’s perception of themselves and the world they live in.
However, as parents, you can help your kid develop a positive attitude, which affects their outlook on life. In this guide, we’ll explore the different ways you can foster positive thinking for kids and empower your little ones.
1. Introduce Positive Mantras
Are you aware that positive mantras are instrumental in developing a positive mindset? In 2015, scientists conducted brain scans on subjects who silently recited a mantra. The scans showed reduced activity in their brains.
More importantly, the reduction was prominent in the part of the brain responsible for self-judgment and self-reflection. In a nutshell, a great mantra can halt negative thoughts dead in their tracks.
However, how these mantras are embedded in your child’s brain can make all the difference. For instance, growth mindset coloring sheets can be a lifesaver. Besides being an excellent family activity, coloring is the perfect way to introduce positive mantras.
Discuss the phrases with your child during coloring. Keep the conversation light to pave the way for the coloring sheets to sink into your heart’s brain and heart.
2. Quote Books
It’s a no-brainer that words carry immense power. Therefore, reading uplifting quotes that foster positive thinking for kids is essential. Think about the impact of a positive quote you read in a book or online article.
Now, you can only imagine the wonders it can do for kids. You can provide a small pen and notebook to your child for drawing. Next, weekly or monthly, select a positive quote to share with them. Each family member can join in the discussion and revel in a few activities that revolve around the quote.
By doing so, kids will build up an array of uplifting and positive thoughts to live by in the future. You’ll notice a significant difference in your child’s mindset in a few months.
3. Invite Family Members to Talk About Positive Things That Happened In Their Days
These can include simple things such as:
- Checking up on a friend
- Standing up for something you believe in
- An act of service
- Encouraging someone
- A mastered skill
- An accomplished task
- An act of kindness
- Completing a project before the due date
- Making it back home safely
The endgame is to focus on daily achievements, no matter how small. You can keep a journal of these accomplishments and celebrate them as a family. In doing so, you’ll notice that wins usually breed more wins. These daily rituals allow your children to develop the mindset of looking for successes throughout the day. They’ll also start each day expecting that good things will happen.
Although it’s essential to acknowledge failures and mistakes, the redeeming quality of shortcomings is that they pave the way for immense growth and learning. You can teach your child to discern the lesson in each mistake they make.
4. Morning Love Notes
You can spark a smile on your child’s face with love notes each morning that say things as you thought of them when you woke up, and you’re hoping they will have a day as bright as they are. Such notes are instrumental in fostering positive thinking for kids.
5. An Act of Kindness
You can select various acts of kindness to conduct in your home, for instance, your kids helping you carry the groceries from your car. Resultantly, they’ll experience the difference it makes and extend the same courtesy to others.
Here’s how you can use art to help kids manage overwhelming emotions and turn them around.
Get It Out
Instruct your child to draw a big circle using a plate or bowl on a white sheet of paper. In the middle of the circle, let them write how they feel and why.
Smoothing It Out
Once your child describes how they feel and its reason, it’s time for the magic. Grab paintbrushes, a container of water, and paint. Any paint such as acrylic will suffice.
However, don’t use watercolor because the goal is to hide the words once your child covers them with paint. Instruct your child to then paint over the circle in their desired pattern and colors. Keep in mind that there’s no wrong or right. The objective is to transform the circle from a sentence about anxiety into art.
At this point, you’re looking at a freshly-painted and dry piece of art. If you spotted any changes in their posture or breathing pattern, you could discuss how the art affects them mentally or emotionally.
For instance, did your child let out a sigh? Did you notice their breathing getting deeper or perhaps a shoulder drop? You can explore what your child needs to make the situation better. You can inquire what they wish they had, the qualities they love about themselves, point out an admirable quality about your child.
Counteract their negative feelings with positive ones. Next, pen down the positive phrases or words in the middle of the circle.
7. Make a Slinky Person With Different Character Traits
Have each family member create a slinky person with different personality traits. Label each character with the name of a family member and list their positive traits. Hang each slinky character at a place where they’ll be visible by all household members, for instance, on the fridge. Doing so fosters positive thinking for kids and adults.
8. Helping Others
Besides being beneficial to others, offering your help enhances your child’s positive attitude and feelings. It’s, therefore, not surprising that those who volunteer have higher self-esteem and confidence compared to those who don’t.
Additionally, helping others is tied to fostering a sense of gratitude, purpose, and happiness due to inner peace. Your child can become a volunteer by walking the neighbor’s dog, helping the elderly with chores or yard work, or helping a classmate with homework.
Volunteering can be a family affair by regularly volunteering at a charity. A child can help their younger sibling get dressed or tidy their space. The more your child helps others, the more positive they’ll become.
9. Record Daily Awe Moments
Positive thinking for kids can stem from recognizing and appreciating small moments of beauty and happiness. These include a magical sunset or sunrise, the sound of birds chirping, laughter, or warm hugs.
One of the most practical ways to cultivate this habit with your child is to keep an awe journal. You and your child document moments or sights from your everyday lives that spark a smile, ranging from the smell of freshly-baked cookies and a rainbow to the smallest act of kindness.
You and your child can do so with poems, drawings, or detailed descriptions. Although it might seem trivial, keeping track of positive experiences can significantly impact fostering a great mindset.
10. Set and Accomplish Goals
There’s no denying that setting goals are one of the surefire ways of being more optimistic with a greater sense of purpose. Positive thinking solely doesn’t help people accomplish their goals and dreams.
After all, dreamers are not doers. Sometimes, overly-optimistic people don’t factor in the possible setbacks they might face on their journey, which leads to a negative outlook on life and the failure to achieve their goals.
The WOOP strategy is great to foster positive thinking for kids when it comes to setting and achieving goals. It entails:
Help your child set a realistic goal that they are likely to achieve.
Help your child visualize the best possible outcome that could stem from achieving their goal. What would the outcome look and feel like?
Go the extra mile of coming up with a list of obstacles that could stand in the way of your child accomplishing their goal, for instance, spending too much time watching TV or playing video games.
Lastly, set a foolproof plan of overcoming these obstacles if or when they crop up. Let your child write down sentences that begin with, ‘if or when (name of the obstacle) occurs, I will (plan to tackle the obstacle).
With planning for and visualization of obstacles beforehand, there’s a higher likelihood that your child will crush their goals, leading to a significant boost in self-worth, self-value, self-esteem, self-confidence, and overall a more positive outlook on life.
11. Share Positivity
One of the most powerful ways to foster positive thinking for kids is leading by example. After all, kids emulate what they see. Therefore, when you healthily process your emotions, you’re teaching your child to do the same.
Additionally, you can share positive experiences with your child. Shared positivity entails two people caught up in the same feelings. That leads to a more significant impact on health than a positive individual experience.
Simple activities such as sharing jokes, good news, physical affection, or watching a comedy are all ways to share positivity. Anything that sparks emotions of love, joy, and contentment propels positive thinking for kids and adults, particularly when these feelings are shared. You can share positivity by hugging your child, laughing with them, and giving your undivided attention.
Furthermore, take the time to discuss the awe journals we mentioned earlier. That can be a valuable shared experience. These moments of togetherness strengthen the bond with your child and boost their positivity. In turn, that elevates their overall wellbeing.
12. Develop Skills and Try New Activities
Recognizing your child’s strengths and providing opportunities to hone them fosters positive thinking. For instance, if your child has a beautiful voice for singing, enroll them in voice classes from which they can perform in recitals. If your child is a great soccer player, sign them up for the local team. As your child hones their skills and becomes successful, their self-confidence and self-esteem will skyrocket. They’ll have a positive attitude in life.
Likewise, trying new things can boost resilience and confidence. Encourage your child to try a new activity, sport, game, or instrument. If a new activity sparks their interest, grant them free rein to try it out.
As they become successful in their new endeavor, they’ll develop a more positive view of life, themselves, and abilities. You can find new activities to try out with your child to elevate your shared positivity. For instance, work on exhilarating art or science projects.
13. Practice Positive Affirmations
These are belief systems embedded in the universal truth. These positive statements that adults and children repeat with intention, counteract negative self-talk and boost self-esteem.
Affirmations are more powerful when your child comes up with theirs. That’s because the healing power of these statements stems from internalizing them. Moreover, your child will take ownership of the process and be more consistent with saying their affirmations until there’s a significant mindset shift.
Examples of positive affirmations that your child can say are:
- I am unique
- I embrace my uniqueness
- I am loved and supported
- I am enough and worthy
- I am kind and loving
Rather than instruct your child to say these affirmations, introduce them playfully. The reason is that children learn best through play, which means positive affirmations are more effective when you introduce them as a game.
For instance, you can take turns to say each affirmation in a dance or song that you and your child enjoy. Alternatively, you can post stickers on the mirror in your child’s room, after which you can both make a creative art project using these statements.
Keep in mind that the more your child says these affirmations, the more they become ingrained in their mind, ultimately resulting in a positive mindset.
To Wrap Up
Maintaining a positive attitude is no easy feat, particularly for adults and the life challenges they face. It can also be a challenge for children. However, the human brain is created to foster positivity based on the habits we cultivate. With these activities, you can promote positive thinking for kids in fun and unforgettable ways.