Guest Post: From time to time, I share posts from colleagues and other contributors who have meaningful advice to pass on to parents and families. Please enjoy this post from Alexandra Eidens.
A positive attitude is most of the hard work behind accomplishing big things. But how do we teach our children how to develop a positive attitude? How do we motivate them to try new things or continue with things with which they are struggling? Here are 8 ways to help your children develop a positive attitude.
Set a good example
Lead by example. Learning through modeling is one of the best ways to pick up a skill, especially for children. There’s a good reason why teachers spend most of their days, in front of the class showing how to do the work. When dealing with teenagers, there’s power in fewer words, so showing them the expectation is less likely to be met with defense. Start your day with affirmations and intentions to set the mood. Say them out loud and ask what your child thinks about them. Then, help your child learn how to set the mood for the day by creating their own daily affirmations.
See the best in your children
Help your child see the best in themself. Be specific with compliments. Instead of telling your child that they drew a pretty picture, ask them to tell you about their picture. This can be especially useful with younger children whose pictures can be a bit difficult to decipher. From there, provide feedback about the information provided. “Oh, I see you did draw our house. I love how you added a red door, just like we have”. Pointing out specific details shows your child their work has meaning and value. It helps instill pride by showing their work is something worth talking about.
Make lemonade out of life’s lemons
One of the most valuable skills we can teach children is those that instill and increase resiliency. Teaching children how to ride out the lows helps them learn to appreciate and work for the highs in life. A growth mindset is one way to help children learn how to lower their frustration level by believing in the power of yet. Model it through your disappointments. Did you burn dinner? Respond with yet in mind. “Well, apparently, I need a little more practice with my meatloaf making skills. I’m not ready for Iron Chef, yet.” Even the simplest things like a red sock in the white clothes wash help children learn to deal with frustration. Problem-solve out loud. “Well, the clothes are pink. Should we just throw them all away or try to wash the pink out?” Most children will find throwing a load of clothes away funny and will see there’s usually a solution.
Acknowledge their emotions
Teaching emotional regulation is another immeasurable skill. It is something that will help your child endure hardships and triumphs with equal amounts of grace. Children who learn that all emotions are valid also understand the importance of identifying those emotions and talking about them. When started from a young age, children learn to trust parents who listen to them talk about their feelings. In the teen years, these children are more likely to reach out to a parent during trying times or times with high conflict levels. Journals for kids are a great outlet for expressing emotions and getting children to start writing, or drawing, about how they feel.
Help them control their inner monologues
Help children create their inner monologues, especially during times of frustration. Help children replace criticism with hope and intent. Model the behavior. While looking at a busy calendar schedule, think out loud. “Wow, that is a busy day. I’m going to do my best and make the most of it”. These types of thoughts help squash perfectionism and instead promote doing their best. When you know your child has a test or other big project, help them build up courage by helping them create inner monologues for those specific events. A spelling test on Friday will be a breeze when your child hears “You are going to rock the socks off that test”. Your child will likely remember to study and go into the test with a positive mindset.
Talk about the law of attraction
The law of attraction promotes the idea of manifesting our thoughts. Think of why you want, set the intention, and believe it, and it will be. Help children learn how to set realistic goals on which to base their intentions. If your little one wants to be a millionaire, have a conversation about why. From there, help them talk about what they love, why they love it. Provide stories about people who made a living doing what they love. Show children what practice, mistakes, and never giving up can lead.
Develop problem-solving skills
Children will problem-solving skills seem to enjoy puzzling out new situations. Show children how to problem solve so they can learn how to try to solve rather than ask for help without trying. Show children the step-by-step process of problem-solving. Use pictures or act it out for stronger potency. Even after solving a problem, teach children to go back and process what may have led to the issue to avoid it in the future.
Instill strong morals and values
Life is demanding without a line of thinking regarding morals and values. Help use fables and other stories to teach children about morals. Help children understand the concept of values by giving them time and space to talk about their importance. Again, lead by example. Radiate what you want your child to pick up on. Do you often preach about lying only to tell quite a few little lies in front of your child? Watch the news or read a newspaper with your child and open conversations about the world. Ask your child their views on age-appropriate topics and help them bring those real-world issues into conversations around morals and values.
Having a positive attitude can make some of the most challenging situations tolerable. It can even turn them into fun memories. Teaching children how to endure difficult moments by arriving with a positive attitude can be life-changing. It nourishes self-esteem, builds strong character, and helps decrease poor decision making as they get older.
Alexandra Eidens is the founder of Big Life Journal, an engaging resource to help kids develop a resilient growth mindset so they can face life’s challenges with confidence.