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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!

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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