A positive attitude is key to leading a happy and productive life. Can we teach our kids to have a positive attitude? Absolutely!
Nurturing a Positive Attitude in Kids
Every person is born with a certain temperament. Some babies are happy and contented from the start; others are slow to warm up. No matter your child’s natural temperament, she can develop a positive attitude. This is learnable!
A positive attitude is closely tied to a growth mindset attitude.
If you have a growth mindset, you see challenges as opportunities. Working through those challenges grows and stretches you in positive ways.
As a result of your effort, you emerge stronger, wiser, and more empathetic to others.
Cultivating a Positive Attitude in Kids
Here are some practices that will help you cultivate a positive attitude in your kids.
Let Your Child Express His Feelings
Having an overall positive attitude does not mean eliminating, or repressing, every negative emotion.
Start by teaching kids about emotions so they know where they stand at any given moment. That is the first step toward coping with negative emotions in a healthy way.
Feelings such as sadness, frustration, and anger are powerful, but they are also temporary.
Process the Day Together
At the end of the day, each member of the family should share the day’s highs and lows.
You celebrate the highs, and you consider the lows.
Usually, these lows are a failure or a difficulty.
Applaud the failures (because that means you tried!) and leverage the difficulties.
What can you learn from this difficulty? How is it growing or stretching you? Is a change needed?
Try to see the positives that spring from the negatives.
Encourage Positive Self Talk
Each of us has an inner voice that puts a spin on our day.
Sometimes that inner voice is negative and condemning.
You can hear your child mutter his inner voice aloud from time to time: “I’m stupid.” “I’m bad at sports.” “Math is impossible for me.”
Encourage your child to turn these phrases around and restate them in a positive way.
“I’m stupid,” becomes “I need some time to learn this, but I’ll get it.”
“I’m bad at sports,” becomes “I can get faster at running with some training.”
“Math is impossible,” turns into “This concept hasn’t clicked yet.”
Read Positive Attitude Stories
For younger children, reading stories with characters with positive attitudes and growth mindset attitudes can inspire children to adopt those attitudes themselves. Here are some ones to try:
- The Little Engine that Could by Watty Piper
- Little Toot by Hardie Gramatky
- Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Peña
- Anything is Possible by Giulia Beloni
- Pollyanna by Elenor H. Porter
Surround Your Child with Positive Attitude Visual Cues
Make your home a place where a positive attitude and a growth mindset attitude are promoted are celebrated.
Adorn your walls with these free and colorful growth mindset posters.
Place an encouraging note in your child’s lunchbox each day (or tape it to his bathroom mirror).
Does your child need a little more inspiration? Check out these free positive note bookmarks.
Give Your Child a Journal
Encourage your child to keep a journal. Even preschoolers can do this by drawing a picture each day.
Nurture a Positive Attitude with Games
Give your child logic games where she challenges herself and does not compete against anyone else.
Try metal logic puzzles, Tangrams, Kanoodle, Gravity Maze, Laser Maze, KenKen, or Sudoku.
Set an Example of a Positive Attitude
Your children learn from example, and you are their primary role model.
Cultivate a positive attitude in yourself!
Practice positive self-talk, learn from your mistakes, read inspirational books and biographies, and keep a gratitude journal.
These simple practices can change your mindset–and lay a template for your child to follow.
Instilling a Positive Attitude in Kids
By implementing some of these simple practices, you can change the way your child sees life.
An attitude of positivity will not only make her happier, but it will give her the fortitude and resilience to tackle whatever comes her way.