How does your mini-me view their glass of chocolate milk? Half full or half empty?
Raising optimistic children today can be a challenge—especially with the slew of negative news outlets via social media and cell phone notifications. Even the negative topics your children overhear others discussing can have an impact on their way of thinking. Although it’s nearly impossible to keep a barrier between kids and technology, there are some ways that you as a parent can help your child find the silver lining.
Listen for absolutes
Keep an ear out for words that signal all-or-nothing thinking such as, “This always happens” or “I never do anything right.” Encourage your child to replace absolutes with less exaggerated phrases like, “Sometimes our team wins, but today we lost.”
Focus on effort, not achievement. When this tactic is applied to the grades your child brings home, you want to build on the idea that success comes from hard work. You never want to imply that an “A” is what makes a child smart. Your child may conclude that if they ever get anything below the best, they have failed. Instead, remind them to always do their personal best and not to compare themselves with others.
It’s a date
No matter how old we are, we all look forward to those dates on the calendar circled in red. Find things for you and your family to look forward to together. Keep a big family calendar of all the fun activities that the future holds. Is Grandma visiting? A trip to the zoo planned? Mark it on the calendar!
It’s all about you
Your own efforts in positive thinking set a great example for your kids. When an issue arises, don’t complain. Instead, brainstorm (out loud so the kids can hear you) different ways you could solve the issue. Next time your children face a similar situation, encourage them to use this same method.
“What do you want to be when you grow up?” An astronaut? An explorer? This question encourages children not necessarily to set realistic goals but to think imaginatively about their future. Believe it or not, this is a form of optimism.
Make a “happy” list
Have your child keep a journal and write down five different things that make them happy each day. At the end of one year, they will have 1,825 fond memories to look back on—and even more to come.