Optimism is a habit that has been nurtured, rather than just a personality trait we’re born with. Optimistic children are often more confident when it comes to facing challenges and bouncing back from setbacks, so helping your child to develop and maintain an optimistic mindset will stand them in good stead throughout their life. Read on for some tips from a college in London on how you can support your child to be more optimistic about life.
Focus on the good things
You can help your child become more positive by encouraging them to find the silver linings and opportunities for learning in difficult situations, and pay more attention to the good things that happen in their life. It’s also important for them to see you doing this as children learn a lot about how to behave in the world from watching their parents. Next time you face a disappointment or setback, ask your child to help you find the positives. This will get them into the habit of looking on the bright side of life.
It’s easy to fall into the trap of complaining when things don’t go our way, but this doesn’t help us move forward or overcome an obstacle. Instead, complaining puts the blame squarely on someone else and takes away our control of situations. Try to avoid your child hearing you complain too much, or they’ll start to view that as a normal way to respond to difficult circumstances. Instead, convey to them that you can take back control by focusing on what you can do about the situation, rather than dwelling on something negative which has been done to you.
Try to make practising gratitude a regular habit in your household. You can do this by creating a routine of, for example, each family member listing three things they’re grateful for that happened that day when you’re eating dinner, or doing this at bedtime when your child is getting ready to go to sleep. This ends the day on a positive note. You could also buy your child a gratitude journal and prompt them to write in it each evening. It’s also important that children learn to appreciate and show gratitude toward others; so next time someone does something nice for them, encourage your child to write them a thank you note or make them a small gift to show thanks.
Keep a sense of perspective
Avoiding framing negative events in catastrophic terms also helps foster optimism. When your child experiences disappointment, remind them that everybody goes through it and it isn’t necessarily the end of the world. When it comes to bad news, which is hard to avoid in today’s world where we can watch the news cycle 24/7 or get the latest updates instantly on social media, remind your child that the news usually focuses on the bad (and often rarer) things happening in the world. Help them see that good things are happening all the time but they’re not reported on as much, which can make things seem worse than they are.