6 Ways to Raise an Optimistic Child
You’re a glass half full kind of lady—most of the time—but how the heck do you pass that good-for-you trait off to your kids? (Seriously, according to studies, optimists are much more likely to live past 100.) Well, follow these steps as a starting point.
Champion Their Passions
It’s all about teaching your kids to feel excited and hopeful about the future. Maybe your daughter is absolutely fascinated by sharks or your son can’t get enough of fire engines. Whatever they’re curious about, help them pursue it—and succeed at it. For example, you take your daughter to the aquarium and she loves it so much, she decides to adopt a coral reef. Boom: Positivity in action.
Tell Them Frequently What You’re Grateful For
It’s tempting to put the pressure on your kids to show gratitude, but if you’re not doing it too, your efforts may be a wash. As often as you can, remind your kids about the little things that make your day. (It can be as simple as “Yay, no traffic!” or as big as “I’m so grateful for your hugs.”) When you acknowledge the positive, it teaches your kids to acknowledge the positive, too.
And Tone Down the Complaining
We get it: Traffic sucks. But now that you’re working so hard to acknowledge the positive, it doesn’t hurt to avoid venting about the negative in the presence of your kids. Some alternatives: Write out your complaints instead of saying them out loud. (You can use the Notes app on your phone.) Or, every time you're about to complain, try singing the first few verses of "Wannabe" (or whatever your happy song is). Nobody could grumble in the presence of the Spice Girls, right?
Show Them the Bright Side
If you have to complain about something in front of your kids, there’s always a lesson to be learned: Teach them what it means to see the upside. For example, say, “This traffic is really getting in the way of our day, but it’s kind of fun that we get to spend more time together in the car catching up.”
Encourage Them to Give Back to the Community
This could be as simple as an adventure to collect and recycle trash in your local park. Or something more organized like volunteering at a soup kitchen over the holidays. Whatever the effort, remind your kids that tiny actions have the power to effect change.
Turn Off the News
If the 24/7 dreary news cycle has the ability to bring us all down, just imagine the toll it takes on your kids. It’s not to say that you shouldn’t acknowledge current events, but turning off the TV means they can avoid being pummeled with it—especially when they’re too young to understand the context.