The best thing about being optimistic is that it allows you to see the good in any situation. Isn’t that one of the best gifts you could ever give to your children? Raising optimistic children is hard work – but it’s worth it. After all, optimistic kids are happier, and are better at dealing with life’s challenges.
Learning how to be an optimist is not rocket science, but it requires you to be consistent – whether you’re learning it for yourself, or you’re teaching your kids. Here are six tips to help both you and your kids to consistently have a sunny outlook.
Think Before You Complain
Parents, we’re the ones who set the example for our kids. Are we showing them we’re optimistic and can have a good attitude regardless of circumstances?
Believe me, I know it’s challenging to be positive when traffic is stalling your plans, or when you have car issues. But, it pays to stay positive. Instead of complaining all the time, ask yourself:
“How can I avoid giving this situation negative energy? What positive lesson can I learn from this?”
Parents, as WE choose to be positive regardless of the circumstances, we begin to plant seeds of optimism in the lives of our kids.
Make Mealtimes A Time for Gratitude
Teaching kids about optimism is important, but letting our kids feel the joy that comes from being positive can create a lasting impression. Mealtimes offer great opportunities for learning.
Start by asking kids about the worst thing that happened to them that day. Give a follow up question like, “What positive lesson can you learn from that experience?”
Helping our kids learn that there’s always something positive that can be found in every situation will remind them to see things in a better light next time they run into conflict.
Set High Expectations
Optimistic kids are also “can do” kids. They understand that they can achieve whatever they set their hearts and minds to. How do we mold kids into becoming people who never give up?
We set high expectations.
We give them responsibilities
We allow them to work on something, and achieve something to build their confidence.
We let them know we have high expectations for them, and that we’re there to assist them in achieving their goals.
Letting children accept tasks – and making them feel the joy of fulfilling the tasks expected of them – can create optimistic kids who know they have the power to influence the events in their lives.
Encourage Kids to Take Risks
Wanting to shield our kids from pain and embarrassment is normal. However, if we always shield our kids from meaningful experiences just because we don’t want them to become scared or disappointed, we might be setting up our kids for failure and pessimism.
So, take a deep breath and let your child try the monkey bars even if that means falling off halfway in front of their friends. Let your child venture out in the backyard without you hovering over his every step.
Overtime encourage your child to take bigger risks, like speaking in front of an audience, or joining challenging competitions.
The bottomline is, allow your kids to take risks. Encourage them to not be afraid of trying new things. Creating opportunities for them to say, “Mommy and Daddy, I did it!” is priceless.
Don’t Undervalue Struggles
Our kids are bound to experience hard things. They could struggle with reading, math , or simply with making new friends. How you deal with your child’s struggle is essential in building their positive outlook on life.
To raise an optimist, we must not undervalue struggles. We can acknowledge their struggles AND encourage them to change their perspective. You can use reassuring phrases like:
“I know you haven’t mastered subtraction yet, but you’ll get there.”
“New sports are always hard to learn. How about we take the time to practice every day?”
“Remember how you learned to read because you gave it 100% of your effort? Just like you did that before, you can do this now!”
To raise optimistic kids does not mean ignoring struggles completely. It’s more about encouraging kids to face their challenges with a more positive perspective.
Keep it Real
Truth is, when things get tough for our kids, a pep talk is not always the best option.
Sometimes, telling them “I know it’s hard, and it’s going to take a lot of work” can help more.
When we encourage our kids to assess situations realistically, we allow them to see that there’s a way out. They’re able to create solutions to their problems. Through their efforts, they find silver linings in their struggles. And they learn that answers to their questions won’t always come just because they’re “amazing, wonderful, and cool.”
Let’s keep it real. When we allow our kids to overcome their challenges realistically, we help them know there’s always a solution to every problem, and concern.
Optimism is a skill developed through constantly and regularly choosing to find positivity no matter what. We set our kids up for happiness when we plant the seeds of optimism early in their lives. Teaching optimism does not need to be complicated – following these six simple, yet powerful tips are great ways to raise optimistic kids who love life.