Curriculum — 09 July 2010
Positive Attitudes and Fostering Optimism for Kids

You know when someone is positive and optimistic.

Generally they are interested and interesting, adventurous, braver than others to try new things and curious about lots of things. They are usually not bored; they have so much that they want to find out about and do.

Optimistic and positive people are also more likely to be thankful for what they have, and show genuine gratitude to others.

Little children are like this, but somehow, sometimes, it begins to change.

Let’s encourage them to stay optimistic.

As parents, we all do the best we know.
We do a great job; we love our kids, and have fun as a family.

But sometimes it just takes someone else discussing an idea, or a note in an article, or perhaps even one of these lessons, to set us on a path we hadn’t thought about before, and we can add to our skills and ‘parent tools’.

In this lesson, ‘Encouraging Optimism and Positive Attitudes’, as with all of the previous lessons, you build on your skills over time, and at the same time you help to develop your child’s skills and ability to cope with his world beautifully.

A lot of your progress with him comes from bringing yourself to a much greater awareness of your language.

If your words and communications with him are focused on the positive rather than the negative, this begins to be the way to think and act at your place for all the family.

Once again it’s in the little things that make the difference.

For example, instead of “Don’t do xxxxx” we can say “Have you thought of doing xxxxx”, or perhaps “Would you like to do xxxxx”. (Then when you really need to shout ‘Don’t’ in a dangerous situation say, he will jump to action).

When children are whining and complaining, instead of talking about that issue, you can change the subject and just ignore the negative talk (especially for younger children – talk about something they are really interested in), or for older children, find something positive about the issue he is talking about, in other words, turn it around.

It’s a scientific fact that when you raise the level of endorphins in the body you feel happier and more positive.

Activate those little fellers with exercise and laughter.

As you start to bring your focus to using positive language with your child, you will start thinking of even more little actions that will guide him to be a more positive person..

Here are some fun starters/reminders:

Little Actions on a Daily Basis

  • After school, instead of asking “How was school today?” ask about the most interesting thing he learnt, or the funniest thing that happened, or the best game he played.
  • Laugh a lot. Laughter is the BEST creator of endorphins, and boosts a feeling of optimism
  • Play a Game of Five Senses – in the car, or as you are sitting around the table; it just takes a few minutes. Take it in turns for each member of the family to say what they see, hear, smell, taste and feel/touch. Have a laugh too.
  • Observe good things he does and says and comment what you like about that
  • As you tuck him into bed ask him to tell you about the three best things that happened today – focusing his mind on the positive
  • Keep TV watching to a set minimum each day. Set some rules for him here. Remove exposure to those negative stories from his life
  • Always follow through with what you say you will do. If he is continually ‘let down’ he begins to give up; he doesn’t trust that things work out for him; pessimism about his world creeps in
    Be grateful yourself for the good things, and teach him to observe the lovely things that happen in his life each day
  • Show him that when you give a smile, you get a smile (raise his endorphins) and improve his good feelings
  • You are the role model. If you are optimistic and look forward to life’s events with excitement, you child is more likely to be the same.

Here are some things to think about

  • Awareness of the language we use (positive rather than the negative)
  • Appropriate information for children to know (world issues like war and famine; frightening events like murder, robbery and attacks on people are not subjects for children to hear about; they become fearful)
  • Learning to notice positive things
  • Be watchful for changes. Does you child show sadness lately that wasn’t there before. Find out what is going on – now
  • Health and nutrition (Yes again – good food, and adequate sleep are crucial)
  • Being a role model (talk more about the good things happening in your life)
  • Be aware of the danger of expecting perfection (ALWAYS expecting children to be 100% positive). This can actually set them up to fail
  • Smiling. When you give a smile, you get one back
  • Learning to look forward to events with excitement and anticipation

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