An optimistic attitude is important because it helps us with our general happiness and success. If we have a “glass half empty” approach, we will be more susceptible to stress and depression. This is true even for children, so it’s important for parents to try and help their children become more optimistic. Of course, maintaining a positive attitude 24/7 can be challenging at times, even for the best of us, but instilling optimism in your child from a young age will stand them in good stead when it comes to overcoming challenges. Here are some top tips from an independent girls’ school in Hertfordshire.
At the end of each day, ask your child if there’s anything they’re particularly grateful for that might have happened. You could take it in turns at dinnertime or before bed to share your thoughts. It could be something as simple as someone making their dinner, helping them with their homework, or giving them a lift to school. By encouraging your child to think about all of the good things in life and share their appreciation, no matter how small, they are more likely to have a positive outlook. Alternatively, if you allow them to complain and forget to count their blessings, it will be harder for them to maintain an optimistic approach.
We all have hardships, some worth than others, but they are relative to our personal experiences. If your child is going through some sort of challenging situation, it might be beneficial for you to help them put things into perspective. If they burn their toast and feel stressed out about it, remind them how fortunate they are that there’s always another slice of bread for them to eat, as some people don’t eat for days.
If your child is afraid of failure, they will often look at challenges with a pessimistic outlook. They will fear the worst. With this in mind, it would be beneficial for you to help them understand that there’s nothing wrong with failing. In fact, failure makes us stronger, because it allows us to learn from our mistakes. So, don’t be too hard on your child when things go wrong, and instead remind them of the positives. For example, if they get a bad grade on an exam, let them know you are proud of them for trying their best, rather than dwelling on the grade.
By encouraging your youngster to set some short- and long-term goals, they will always have something to work towards and be excited about. Of course, these goals should be realistic so that when they successfully achieve them, they can experience a sense of pride and self-belief. If their goals are too challenging and they never fulfil them, it will be hard for them to maintain that optimistic mindset you are hoping to achieve. So, start off small – the goal could be something as simple as keeping their bedroom tidy for a week, with a reward at the end of it.
Of course, you can’t constantly be there to keep your child entertained at every minute of every day, but you can ensure they have something to look forward to once a week or once a month. It could be something like a trip to the beach or a day out somewhere more locally. You don’t have to spend a fortune; the idea is to ensure your child has new experiences so that a) they don’t have to be afraid of trying new things and b) they always have something to be excited about.
If you notice that your child is quite negative or self-deprecating, don’t let it fly. Challenge their remarks and help them see things in a more positive light. For instance, they might say something like “this exam tomorrow is going to be terrible”, you can reply with something along the lines of “there’s absolutely nothing to worry about, you have done plenty of revision and I’ll be proud of you no matter what”.
What all these tips have in common is that they will help your child look for the good in life and focus on what’s going well, rather than what’s going wrong. Help them believe in their abilities and focus on their strengths, rather than their weaknesses. Life is full of ups and downs, but if we always concentrate on the bad and fear the worst, we will never be happy. That’s why optimism is so important. Remember to be a good role model; if they hear you complaining all the time, they will likely do the same. You should also remember that it won’t happen overnight, and your child will sleep into a negative mindset from time to time, as we all do. Be patient with them and always remind them that tomorrow is another day.
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