Toolkit to Encourage Optimism in Kids
Helping kids overcome negative thoughts from an early age can go a long way in making them self-reliant, hopeful individuals in the future.
It calls for better health. Optimism implies better academic and extracurricular performance. It builds resilience and strength to sail through tough times.
Optimistic self-talk – Modelling positive self-talk is a great way to promote optimism in kids. For example, parents can talk about their day at work and invite kids to share about their day at school. Exchanging simple thoughts about what they liked about today, what made them feel bad, and how they are planning to make the most of the next day can be a simple yet powerful start to cultivating positive thinking in a child.
Empathy – Empathy begins with acknowledging the child’s feelings. Children who feel heard and attended at home usually grow up to become conscious and empathetic individuals. Parents can use simple statements such as ‘I can understand how you feel,’ or ‘ I would have felt the same if I were you’ to model empathetic behaviour.
Learning how to empathize teaches a child to understand, accept, and reflect the same during stressful times later.
Focus on effort rather than results Psychologists stress the role of the right attitude in building optimism. Positive thinkers focus more on the process than the results. For example, encouraging children to participate in activities, without worrying about who wins and who loses, is a great message for nurturing this faith. Parents who appreciate children for their efforts are encouraging those kids to believe in themselves and never stop trying.
Recalling happier times Negative thinking may drive a child to believe that bad times never end. As parents, we can motivate them to recall past experiences, that made them sad initially but they could later overcome it. Asking questions such as “How did you feel when you got a better outcome than you expected?” can help them introspect and find hope from within.
Changing perspective A shift from negative to positive perspective can be both the cause and the consequence of optimism. Helping children understand that it is practically impossible to always have things the way we want is a significant step to make them insightful.
Once they learn to manage their expectations and look into any matter with rational reasoning, they may more easily tune in to their optimistic self.
March 5, 2023