Even if you’re not a natural born optimist, you probably see the value in teaching your kid to look on the bright side. But the world can be a dark and depressing place, so here are some tips for raising a hopeful little optimist.
- Stop complaining, and focus on the positive - If your kids hear you talking about all the negative things that happen in your life, they’re more likely to focus on the bad things in their lives. So focus on the bright side and they’ll learn to give more mental weight to positive experiences.
- Work on cutting absolutes out of your vocabulary - Pessimists think things are always going to go wrong, and they say things like “I can’t ever get that right” or “I always mess up” that reinforce that thinking. Try to swap the absolutes for “sometimes.”
- Use hard situations to teach your kid to look on the bright side - Anything from being stuck in traffic to having to stay home from school because they’re sick can be a chance to talk to your little one and spend time together. Talk to them about the silver lining.
- Give them a chance to succeed . . . and to fail - Build their self esteem by giving your kids age-appropriate chores to do around the house. And encourage them to take risks by trying a new sport or activity, even if they’re not sure about it, and they’ll learn you believe in them.
- Praise effort, not talent - We all like a pat on the back, but if focusing on your kid’s hard work instead of their natural abilities teaches them that effort - the part they can control - is important. And don’t praise them when they haven’t done something well, they’ll see right through your BS and won’t trust your compliments as much.
- Let them dream big - Let their imaginations run wild. If they want to be a famous singer or President of the United States, let them. Talking about being that best version of themselves helps them practice optimism.
- Embrace anticipation - Having something to look forward to helps us all stay optimistic, so talk about the exciting things coming up in your family’s lives and help your kids look at the future more positively.