As adults, we are surrounded by different attitudes and perspectives everywhere we go, from the grocery store line to meetings at the office. As parents, we would like to think that the world is filled with only positive thoughts and kind words, but in reality we hear more negative words and thoughts than we care to admit. Sometimes it’s our own words and thoughts that are negative. How we respond to any given situation is a reflection of our overall attitude and view of life, although sometimes it’s just waking up grumpy.  It affects not only ourselves but those around us, including our children.

 

We can only influence in a small way how the rest of society thinks and speaks, but we have the ability to control our own attitudes and in turn guide our children.  We want our children to pick up a positive attitude and mindset not a negative one, so how do we begin to teach and influence positive thinking?

 

How young can a child grasp positive thinking?

Children can grasp the concept of positive thinking at a young age. According to the article “Positive thinking: How to foster in your child” by About Kids Health, children are able to understand positive thinking quite, “The study showed children as young as five can understand the principles of positive-thinking: a positive thought makes you feel better and a negative thought makes you feel worse. What’s more, children are better at understanding the power of positive thinking in situations that were ambiguous.” Many studies also suggest that children are able to better understand positive thinking the older they get. Now that we know our children are able to understand the concept, how do we begin teaching them?

 

Be a role model

We continuously have little eyes on us, and it will stay that way as long as our kids are learning. To encourage our children to think positive we need to make sure that we set a goal to also think positive. Be a role model for them. Being more conscious of our attitude and thoughts is not only great for our kids to see, but also great for our own happiness.

 

Try this activity:

At any point in the day, practice saying positive words and phrases in the mirror with your children. Saying things like “I am a nice person, I can be anything I want to be, I can make a difference in the world, and I am an awesome soccer player.” It sounds a little silly, but it can make a huge impact on increasing the confidence level in our children and in ourselves. You could also add to the activity by taking a moment to say nice things about each other. This activity is a great chance for parents to embed positivity in our children and is also a good opportunity to be kind to ourselves and to each other.

 

Here is a list of positive words that can be said to your kids, or that you can say together:

 

The positive side of teaching at a young age

By teaching positive thinking at a young age, we’re helping our children build skills and attitudes that they will be able to carry though life. There are many different life circumstances that our kids will eventually face, like failing a test, or not making a sports team, and we won’t always be there to lift their spirits or change that negativity into positivity, so they need to learn to do this on their own, It’s important that we teach them to find the silver lining in every situation, even the ones that seem very difficult.

 

Teach from the positive and the negative

Children naturally interact with others in the same way as adults, but that doesn’t mean that we need to be perfect all the time. As parents we are also human beings, making mistakes along the way is inevitable. If our children catch us in a negative mood, it is the perfect opportunity to explain to them how we plan to change our mood, and how to find a positive perspective instead. Not only does that help guide them, it also keeps us in check with our positive thinking habits.

 

Create a “No Complaining Rule”

It seems to be easier to let out a complaint before letting out a positive comment. One way to tackle this is to create a “no complaining rule” in our homes. This rule encourages everyone (parents included) to think before they speak, and to make sure that they are communicating in a positive way.

Here is how:

–       Explain why complaints are negative, and how they could use a positive thought to communicate instead.

–       Let them know that everyone needs to lend a helping hand, which means helping each other think of ways to turn their negative complaint into a positive thought.

–       Give a few examples of complaints and turn them into positive thoughts together.

–       Create a small reward for the positive behavior, even if it’s as simple as a sticker chart.

 

Examples of reinforcing positive thoughts and words:

Complaint: “I hate Broccoli!!!”

Positive thought: “Broccoli is really good for me and I should eat some.”

Complaint: “I don’t want to get ready for bed!”

Positive thought: “I like reading my book before bed.It helps me to relax.”

Complaint: “I don’t like taking the school bus”

Positive thought: “I really like sitting with my friends on the bus.”

 

Replacing our complaints with positive thoughts helps us have a nicer attitude and a better perspective. The “No Complaining Rule” is a great way to encourage teamwork, problem solving, and brainstorming within the family. It also makes us conscious of our attitudes.

For other examples, take a look at the “What Can I Say to myself chart” on our Pinterest board.

I Can! Kids believes that positive thinking is the best way to inspire children to believe in themselves and to boost their confidence. Our personalized children’s books not only encourage positive thinking, but also help children realize that they can achieve anything they want to if they dream big enough.

 

Our books help parents, grandparents, teachers and coaches show children when they believe in themselves, and have confidence they will achieve their dreams and when they think positive thoughts, they will find success in their lives. To learn more about I Can! Kids or to personalize a book of your own, visit www.icankids.com.

 

Do you practice positive thinking with your children? Leave us a comment below, or connect with us on Facebook and Twitter.

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