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7 Tips For Teaching Kids Positive Thinking

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. 

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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. 

Some examples:

  • 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!

What Are Empowerment Tools?

What are Empowerment Tools? What does empowerment mean when it comes to empowering our kids (and ourselves)? At Our Kids Empowered, our definition of empowerment is to give kids the confidence, courage, and power to meet their full potential. We want kids to feel comfortable in their own skin, to know and see their own worth, and to understand the power they have to make decisions. To do this, it is important that kids' bodies and minds are in sync with each other.  They need to be equipped with the tools they can use to help them manage emotions, calm down, and get their minds in order so they can feel good and make good decisions. 

Empowerment tools are any tools you can use to be empowered as defined above. The empowerment tools that we focus on at Our Kids Empowered fall into 2 categories: physical and mental. Empowerment tools for both of these categories go hand in hand. If you are doing something to strengthen one, the other will benefit in some way. You can't separate your body and mind, and you can't firmly separate techniques into these 2 categories. Here we will loosely separate them for better understanding.

Physical Empowerment Tools

Physical empowerment tools are anything you do to empower yourself using your body. Some examples of physical empowerment tools are:

  • Breathing exercises
    • Deep breathing is a simple and quick empowerment technique.
    • Deep breathing improves your cognitive function, improves your mood, and increases relaxation and/or helps you to relax and calm down. 
    • Our free resource library has a free printable on an awesome breathing technique called Four Square Breathing. Check it out!
  • Exercise
    • This includes any kind of exercise. As long as you are exercising wisely, exercise is an empowerment tool. Exercise improves your overall health, has cardiovascular benefits, can improve your mood, and can help your brain and memory. 
    • Yoga would be included in both breathing and exercise.
  • Sensory activities like swinging, jumping, pushing, compression, and tactile play
    • Using the senses in play is very powerful, and helpful for anyone.
    • Sensory play helps brain function, emotional regulation, problem solving skills, and much more. We will go into greater detail about sensory activities and senses in future blog posts. 
  • Kinesthetics
    • Kinesthetics is moving your body in different ways to stimulate different parts of your mind.
    • It is a way to connect your brain and your body to help you function better.
    • Kinesthetics has been shown to help manage stress, improve decision making, improve organization, improve focus and concentration, improve reading, writing and memory, and help you feel better overall. 

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Mental Empowerment Tools

Mental empowerment tools include anything you do to think positively, and anything that helps your brain work better. You will notice that all of the physical empowerment techniques listed above have mental benefits as well. All of the tools listed below include a physical element as well. 

  • Pull The Weeds
    • Pull The Weeds is an empowerment tool taught in the Our Thoughts are Like Seeds Program. It is an activity that involves being aware of your thoughts and switching the negative ones to positive thoughts. 
  • Journaling and writing
    • Writing has so many benefits.
    • Journaling can be used as a way to release negative emotions.
    • Writing with your hand (as opposed to typing) stimulates neurons in your brain.
    • New awareness of yourself and your thoughts can be achieved when you put pen to paper.
    • Writing can improve memory and overall brain function. 
  • Affirmations
    • Affirmations are positive things we say to ourselves. If you have an affirmation, it is very beneficial to say it over and over.
    •  When your subconscious brain hears your say these positive things, it eventually starts to believe them.
    • Affirmations can be powerful and life changing. 
    • Check out this post for 25 positive affirmations for kids.

Summary

Empowerment tools are simple things you can do to strengthen your mind and body, and in the end help you reach your full potential. As you use empowerment tools and teach them to your kids, you will find that they help you start to think more positively, regulate your emotions better, be more relaxed, be physically healthy, and the list goes on and on. 

Check out our free resource library to download a free printable on Four Square Breathing. Four Square Breathing is a simple and effective physical empowerment tool that has mental benefits as well.

Our Thoughts Are Like Seeds

Our thoughts are like seeds. The more I have pondered on this idea, the more I have realized how true it is in many ways. Positive thoughts are like good seeds that produce flowers and vegetables, and negative thoughts are like the seeds that form weeds. 'Our Thoughts are Like Seeds' is the topic of lesson 1 in our Our Thoughts are Like Seeds Program

It is estimated that we have between 60,000-80,000 thoughts each day. For the average person, around 80% of these thoughts are negative. That is an astounding and concerning statistic. It doesn't seem like our odds are really that great, does it? Our brains are programmed to look for the negative, so they naturally generate more negative thoughts. The good news here is that by using simple tools and strategies, we can train our brains to think more positively, making the percentage of negative thoughts go down and the percentage of positive thoughts go up. 

Our Thoughts are Like Seeds

Plant Positive Thoughts

When we think of a garden, the type of seed we plant determines the type of plant that grows. If we plant a flower seed, a flower will grow. When we plant a tomato seed, a tomato plant will grow. When we plant a weed, a weed will grow. We cannot plant a cucumber seed and expect a pumpkin to grow. It is just common sense. The same is true for thoughts. If we plant a positive thought we will get a positive result. If we plant a negative thought we will get a negative result.  

It is important for us to be intentional with our thoughts. We must intentionally plant good seeds in our garden. Plants don't spontaneously grow in a garden (only rarely does this happen). Only weeds do that. Weeds are nasty little things, and they can quickly take over an entire garden. They strangle the good plants growing.

Plants need to be cared for. They need to be watered and have the right amount of sunlight. Weeds can grow in any condition and anywhere without any care. 

The same is true for thoughts. We must intentionally plant positive thoughts. They do not usually just come up on their own. We don't have to work at all for the negative ones to pop up.  But we have to care for our positive thoughts. We need to nurture them and continue to help them grow. Negative thoughts require none of that, and if we don't nurture our positive thoughts, the negative ones will come and strangle the positive ones.

How can we have so thousands of negative thoughts and expect our results to be positive? We really can't. 

Thoughts Lead to Results

Positive thoughts lead to positive results

Our thoughts are very powerful. A thought is the first step to any action we take. When we have positive thoughts, our experiences are more positive. We feel better about ourselves and our capabilities, and it shows in the results we get in life.

There is a natural pattern from thought to result. A Thought leads to an emotion, which leads to an action, which leads to a result. Following are some examples of this. 

  • The thought “I am ugly” could lead to an emotion of shame, which could lead to not talking to friends, which could lead to the result of being alone when you want to be with friends. 
  • The thought “I am enough” could lead to an emotion of confidence, which could lead to introducing yourself to new people, which could lead to the result of having a lot of people who are your friends.  

Can you think of any examples from your own life? 

How Changing a Thought Can Change Our Experience

Positive thoughts lead to positive experiences

When we change our thoughts our results change too. Think about this for a minute. This means in the end we have some power of our results. There are, of course, things we don't have control of even if we control our thoughts well. I am not saying that if we have a negative experience it always means something is wrong with our thoughts. However, this is true in a lot of cases. 

Let's say I am going to speak in front of hundreds of people. This is something that would be very scary for most people. I go up to the stage with thoughts like, "This is scary", "I'm not going to do good enough", "I never do well when I speak in public", "I'm going to say something stupid", etc. I am only telling my brain how I am going to perform. Because of these negative thoughts I am going to have emotions of inadequacy, fear, and dread. I am going to go up to the stage and fumble with my words, say things the wrong way, and overall not do as great of a job as I want to do (action). The result will be that my speech doesn't produce the results I want it to. Maybe I wanted to inspire others, and it just doesn't happen because I was such a bumbling mess. 

Now let's flip the story. I go up to the stage with thoughts like, "I've got this", "I can do hard things", "I am enough", "I get better every time I do this". I might still be nervous, but I am going to have a lot less fear than in the example above. These positive thoughts are going to help me feel empowered and maybe even a little excited. My performance will be a lot better, I will be able to say the things I planned, and I will feel confident and excited about the speech. Hopefully I also inspired someone, which was my goal. 

Awareness Of Our Thoughts Is Important

It is important to be aware of our thoughts. Awareness is the first step to making any change in our positive/negative thoughts ratio. When we are aware of the thoughts we are having, we are more able to adjust and make changes. 

Try keeping track of the thoughts you have. Awareness is the first step to making any change. Try tracking your thoughts using the Thoughts Tracking printable provided in our free resource library. Have your kids do it too! Leave a comment telling me about your experience!

Want To Teach Your Kids This Concept?

The Our Thoughts Are Like Seeds  program is the perfect way to teach your kids how their thoughts are like seeds. It is full of activities, printable pages, games, and stories that help kids learn about their thoughts in a fun way. The activities help reinforce the concepts and apply them in daily life. The lessons are designed so you that it only takes 5-10 minutes each day to teach the concepts and apply them. 

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Summary: 

  • Our thoughts are like seeds. Positive thoughts produce positive results just as a flower seed produces a flower. Negative thoughts produce negative results just as planting a weed seed will produce a weed. 
  • A thought is the first step toward any result we get.
  • We can change our experiences by changing our thoughts.

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What’s Different About Our Kids Empowered?

There are a few other businesses out there that focus on teaching kids empowerment tools.  What makes Our Kids Empowered different? There are 4 main things that make us unique: we make it simple, we give you options, we want YOU to be your child's main teacher, and we love to give you things for free. 

1) We Make it Simple

What's Different About Our Kids Empowered 1

Parenting isn't simple. As a mom of 6 kids, I know this is true with all my heart! I am one to get big ambitions that aren't realistic and try to implement them. I have done this time and time again and it NEVER works! When I decided to start Our Kids Empowered, I knew it had to be simple. There is no other way for a busy parent. So I got to work brainstorming how it could be simple.

It Only Takes 5-10 Minutes Each Day

Your time is precious, and you have so many things to do. Cramming One. More. Thing. in doesn't sound fun. I know this feeling all too well. That's why I decided to make it possible to only spend 5-10 minutes per day. I know even  5-10 minutes seems like a lot on a consistent basis, but it's about priorities. Do you want your kids to have a positive mindset that will help them for the rest of their lives? Do you want your kids to have tools that will help them through hard times? Of course the answer is yes! Spending 5-10 minutes will be so worth it in the end. I promise. 

Little To No Preparation

Our lesson plans add another dimension of simple in the fact that there is little preparation involved. You don't have to know the lesson content before you teach it to your kids. All you have to do is make sure you have the items needed. Everything is usually included in the lesson plans, but every once in awhile you will need a simple item. Other than making sure you have everything you need on hand, all you have to do is open to the lesson and go. You can even read the lesson word for word if you want!

2) We Give You Options

What's Different About Our Kids Empowered 3

I am an options person. Options are powerful, and it's always nice to know there is another way to do things if one way isn't working. When I decided to make our lesson plans simple and only 5-10 minutes/day, I got some feedback that some may prefer a more traditional style lesson plan. That is why I created 2 versions of each lesson: The Daily Version and the Full Version.

The Daily Version

The Daily Version contains lesson plans broken down into 5-10 minutes each day. This is a great option for us busy moms who aren't sure where to find the time. It does require consistency, but once you get a routine down, it's really easy and rewarding. This is also a great option because it gives a little bit of information each day, which is just what we need to create lasting change and learning. 

The Full Version 

 The Full Version takes one week of lesson plans and puts it into one lesson. These lessons usually take about 45 minutes. The Full Version is meant to given once/week to give your children time to process the information and practice the tools. If you have a set time each week to work on empowerment, this might be a great option for you.

3) We Want YOU To Be Your Child's Main Teacher

What's Different About Our Kids Empowered 2

The idea of being your child's main teacher might be a scary thought for some of us. That's a lot of pressure! You don't have to be your child's ONLY teacher, but you are definitely his first and main teacher whether you know it or not. You are his main influence and example, and because of this you can be a very powerful teacher for him. 

It's important for you to learn and use the empowerment tools along with your child. As you learn along with him, you will grow as well. Since you are familiar with the tools and concepts, it will be easy for you to help guide him as he needs direction. I promise this will be life changing for you as well as your child. It is an amazing, incredible adventure!

4) We Love Giving You Things for FREE!

Our first goal isn't to sell you stuff. It is to help you make a difference for your child, your family, and yourself. We have a free resource library that we are always adding to! Here you will find free resources, printables, tips, and lesson plans to get you started and introduce you to some of our tools and concepts. 

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Summary: 

Our Kids Empowered has a few key differences from other child empowerment companies. 

  • We make it simple. 
    • We do our best to make teaching your kids realistic by making our lesson plans require no preparation from you. The lessons only take 5-10 minutes a day. It is very possible!
  • We give you options
    • We know that no everyone is the same, so we give you 2 versions of each lesson: a full version, which takes 45 minutes once/week and a daily version which takes 5-10 minutes each day. 
  • We want YOU to be your child's main teacher. 
    • You are the most important influence in your child's life, and you can teach them best. 
  • We love to give you things for free!
    • Make sure to sign up for our free resource library to gain access!

Check out our lesson plans in our shop!