Having positive thoughts and thinking positively about themselves helps kids have a good sense of self worth and feel safe in the world. It will also help them lead fulfilling lives and have a brighter future. Thoughts are powerful, and the younger kids learn to have a positive mindset, the better chance they have to have a happy and fulfilling life now and in the future.
Here are 7 tips for teaching kids positive thinking.
Get This Printable Free!
Plus access to all other resources in our free resource library.
1) Teach Them About Thoughts and How Their Brain Works
When kids understand how the brain works and about their thoughts, it makes a world of difference. This is the first step to teaching your kids positive thinking. Once kids understand how important it is to think positively and speak positively, they will be more likely to use empowerment tools by working on increasing the amount of positive thoughts they have and decreasing the negative ones.
You can teach your kids simple empowerment tools to help them increase the positive thoughts they have. Our Thoughts Are Like Seeds Program Manual is a great place to start.
2) Be An Example
The very best way to teach kids is by example. They might not always be listening, but they are always watching you. Kids are likely to mimic your behavior whether you intentionally taught it to them or not. If you say negative things about yourself, your kids are going to say negative things about themselves. If you gossip, your kids will be more likely to gossip.
You go first. Work on thinking positively yourself. Use the empowerment tools you are teaching your kids. Take care of yourself the way you want your kids to take care of themselves. Your example will teach your kids more than anything else you do.
3) Be Encouraging and Positive
As a parent, you have a lot of power over how your child sees themselves and the world. The things you say to them make a difference. It is much easier to see the negative things they do and correct them than it is to notice the positive. Try being encouraging and pointing out the positive things they do that you want them to continue doing. Notice when they are doing something good. Positive reinforcement is much more effective than negative reinforcement.
- I notice you are walking down the halls. Thanks for following the rules.
- You are focusing on that homework so well.
- I appreciate that you used your words.
4) Help Them Understand Their Emotions and How to Manage Them
There is such a wide range of the emotions you can feel, and sometimes that is confusing and overwhelming to kids. It is important that they understand that emotions aren't 'good' and 'bad'. It isn't bad to feel sad, angry, or frustrated. It is normal and healthy. There are emotions that feel positive and emotions that feel negative. We don't necessarily want to feel the negative emotions, but it is important to understand that it is okay to feel them, and to have some strategies for managing them in an appropriate way.
5) Give Them Freedom
We all want freedom. The freedom to choose is very important to our sense of safety in this world. Giving children the ability to choose as many things in their lives as possible will help them build a sense of self and worth. Try letting them choose even when it makes you cringe a little bit. Of course, there are times it is best to guide them away from choices that will hurt them.
Some things you can give your kids choices about:
- Their clothing
- What they eat
- How they do their hair
- Extracurricular activities
- How they use their free time
- Pursuing their interests and passions, even if they are different than what you want for them.
6) Encourage Them to Talk About the Good and the Bad Things That Happen Each Day
Sometimes kids will have one negative experience during their day, and only remember that. It is easy to let the negative overshadow the positive. Helping kids recognize the negative AND positive things that happen to them is very healthy. It is important that kids can see that even though they had something they see as 'bad' happen to them, some good things happened too.
A game we enjoy in our family is what we call "Peaches and Pits". At dinner time, we go around the table and everyone takes turns telling one "pit", or negative event followed by 2 "peaches", or positive events. It is important to highlight more positive events than negative. This helps our brains see the positive more easily.
7) Expose Them to Good Literature and Media
Have you ever heard the saying, "you are what you eat"? The same is true for the literature, media, and other things you expose yourself to. You are what you consume. Kids are especially vulnerable to the influences of the media around them. They are bombarded everyday by messages from TV shows, video games, the internet, and literature. It is very important that the things they are exposed to are good. Here are some guidelines we use in our house to decide if the media we consume is 'good'.
- It has positive messages about family and education.
- Morals and values are taught.
- There is no unnecessary violence.
- It does not have swearing or other negative language.
Yes, this does eliminate a lot of things we could possibly consume, but it is worth it when we have positive and uplifting messages in our brains instead of unnecessary and damaging garbage.
What are some of the ways you help your kids think positively? Share in the comments below!