There’s an old joke about a young boy who wakes up Christmas morning and, instead of gifts under the tree, finds a pile of manure. Excitedly he begins shoveling through it, telling his bewildered parents, “There’s got to be a pony in here somewhere!”
There are many tools we can give our children to help them succeed in life: a solid education, a healthy diet, a secure environment, a sense of self-esteem, thinking skills, and so on.
One important skill we can teach them is to maintain a positive attitude. With a positive attitude, the sky’s the limit. Optimism helps them realize they can overcome obstacles to achieve anything they want.
Such a mindset is also physically and mentally beneficial. If they don’t let difficulties stop them, they’ll have less stress and depression throughout their lives, and enjoy better overall health.
This doesn’t mean they never feel sad, frustrated, or even discouraged, but it can help keep them from feeling hopeless when they encounter the challenges life throws at them.
Five tips toward a more positive attitude
- Kids model their parents’ behavior. If they see you bouncing back from setbacks, they’ll learn to do the same.
- Help them see a way around obstacles. When something doesn’t work out as planned, encourage them to brainstorm other ways to approach the problem or to reach their goal.
- Let them know that negative reactions are okay when it’s appropriate. Having a positive attitude doesn’t mean burying legitimate feelings, but acknowledging them, and then finding a way to move on.
- Teach constructive reframing. If a child declares she’s lousy at sports, suggest that she simply needs more practice and that if excelling at sports is important to her, she’ll eventually master the necessary skills.
- Encourage positive self-talk. Words have power, so offer a few affirmations they can repeat until they become second nature:
- “I am worthy of good things.”
- “I can achieve anything I set my mind to.”
- “There’s a way around this challenge.”
- “Things will work out in the long run.”
For more ideas on how to foster a positive attitude in your kids, see this month’s Family Table Time kit.
These fun activity kits arrive weekly and include everything you need to help establish lifelong rituals, habits, and traditions, all for less than a cup of coffee!