Positive thinking for kids in 5 easy steps

Raise your hand if you could use the power of positive thinking!

I know that millions of you have been searching for answers lately. How can I be more positive? Why is positive thinking so damn hard? What makes me think negative thoughts in the first place?

I’ve been right there with you. Every day is a constant positivity exercise for me, as I work to challenge the negative thoughts that pop up in my head. Gee, thanks, anxiety and grief!

But there is someone who needs positive thinking even more than we do. Someone you might have assumed sees the world through rose colored glasses. Do you know who I’m talking about?

Your child!

If you are a parent, this post is for you. It will teach you all about positive thinking for kids, and why it is more important than ever. I will also share some books about positive thinking that we love in our house.

This is the last post in my series about positive thinking. You can read the most recent one here: 21 awesome journaling ideas for positive thinking (+ how to use the genius cancel-cancel method)

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Also, I am not a doctor or mental health professional. Just someone who has lived with depression and anxiety for many years who is passionate about sharing her experiences and tips for success. If you are in crisis call your doctor, then click here for some good mental health resources.

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Why positive thinking for kids is more important than ever

No shame here, but many of us have likely been focused on ourselves. Myself included!

  • How are we going to deal with this financially?
  • Am I going to get sick?
  • When can we return to working as usual?
  • When can I start going out for girls’ night again?
  • How am I going to handle homeschooling?

Again, no shame. Our lives have been completely thrown for a loop, and many of you are struggling to cope with the changes taking place. And like you’re always told by your therapist (and flight attendants around the world), it’s important to put on your own oxygen mask before you assist someone else.

BUT. (Because there’s always a but.) Even though that is true, we need to be keeping positive thinking for kids in mind. Kids are struggling just as much as we are, even if it doesn’t seem that way.

Do you always tell people when you’re struggling? I know I don’t, so we have to assume that the same is true for kids. Even more so for little ones.

Black text on a white background that says "Positive thinking for kids in 5 easy steps," next to a brown wooden head with puzzle pieces missing

Some of the things kids might be dealing with right now

Positive thinking for kids is more important than ever because they are going through more than we might realize. Here are just a few of the things your kiddos might be struggling with:

  • Why can’t I go to school like normal?
  • I miss grandma.
  • Why is my uncle sick in the hospital?
  • Why is mommy so stressed?
  • I miss going to the grocery store with dad every weekend.

Do any of these sound like things your kids might be experiencing? A lot of times, they cannot even vocalize these worries to us, especially when they are little. According to Kids Helpline:

Kids experience complex feelings just like adults. They get frustrated, excited, nervous, sad, jealous, frightened, worried, angry and embarrassed. However young kids usually don’t have the vocabulary to talk about how they are feeling. Instead they communicate their feelings in other ways.Kids can express their feelings through facial expressions, through their body, their behaviour and play. Sometimes they may act out their feelings in physical, inappropriate or problematic ways.

Helping kids identify and express feelings

This is why we have to model proper emotional regulation, and take positive thinking for kids seriously. They might be struggling in ways we can’t even imagine, and they just don’t have the emotional intelligence to express it.

Watch this video to learn how to help kids control their emotions, and express them properly.

How you can raise happy kids in 5 easy steps

In this section, I’m going to share my best tips for raising happy kids and making positive thinking for kids a priority in your household. These are all things I do as a mom on a regular basis, and they have been really helpful. Knock on wood, my kiddos are doing okay!

Tip #1- Ditch the negativity

One way I make positive thinking for kids a priority is by, first of all, not being so outwardly negative myself. This is definitely easier said than done. In fact, it is so challenging, that’s why I dedicated an entire series to it!

Children learn by seeing and hearing the things we do and say. When all we do is walk around saying, “Oh life sucks, everything’s terrible, I’m the worst,” guess what? That is how they are learning to react to negative emotional disturbances in their lives.

I get that many people reading this live with anxiety or depression, and might find it challenging to live any other way. And I completely understand. I’ve gone through times where being positive feels like the hardest thing imaginable.

Anxiety and depression are very real conditions. But they leave us with a massive responsibility which is super important to keep in mind, even if it is an unfair burden at times. You are an educator. If you want people to understand you better, and governments to provide you with better funding, you have to get your ass in check.

You have to recognize the effects your moods have on your children (without feeling guilty or ashamed, obviously) and find a way to use it as a teaching moment.

purple background with white text that says "Positive thinking for kids in 5 easy steps," with a black and white picture of a girl looking tired and sad

Tip #2- Challenge their negative thoughts for them

Another way to model positive thinking for kids is by challenging their negative thoughts as they express them. Here is a great example that just happened with my oldest as I’m writing this:

Oldest (who is 5): My heart kind of hurts.

Me: Do you feel nervous about something?

Oldest: I think I feel kind of nervous that I’m not the prettiest girl in the world.

Me: You are more beautiful than you could ever realize!

She might be too little to know this skill on her own. But by me doing it for her, it reinforces the concept in her mind. As she matures emotionally and mentally, she will learn to do it herself! That is one of the best skills your child can carry into adulthood.

Tip #3- Introduce them to positive media

My third best tip for positive thinking for kids is giving them positive media to consume. Most of our kids are getting a little more screen time than normal. That’s just the time we’re living in.

If this is the case for your family, there are plenty of options for shows they can watch that will teach them great lessons. I will share some book recommendations later on, but in the meantime, here are some shows on Netflix that encourage positive thinking for kids:

  • True and the Rainbow Kingdom
  • Chico Bonbon: Monkey With a Tool Belt
  • Ask the Storybots
  • Super Monsters
  • Beatbugs

These are some of my kids favorites. They teach kids how to think outside of the box, how to be kind, and how to practice self-acceptance. And they’re super cute, and not annoying! So, win-win. I know I’m OVER Ryan’s Toy Review. Seriously. I declare it cancelled.

purple background with white text that says "Positive thinking for kids in 5 easy steps," with a black and white picture of a group of happy kids lying on the ground and smiling

Tip #4- Inspire them to be creative and autonomous

One of the easiest ways to teach positive thinking for kids is to teach them to be creative and autonomous!

Being creative teaches kids a lot of things. It helps their mind expand and see solutions they might not have previously thought possible. It helps them to appreciate the beautiful things in life a little easier. Plus, it is a great… Share on twitter

Being autonomous (aka, learning independence from mom and dad) is also another fantastic tool in your quest to raise happy kids. Teach them:

  • How to do things on their own
  • That their body is their own, and it is awesome!
  • That they can always try again if they make a mistake

These are all things they will need to know to be a happy, positive-thinking adult.

Tip #5- Encourage them to tell you how they feel

This tip for positive thinking for kids is especially important as they get older: Encourage them to tell you how they feel!

If your little one is acting up or talking back, ask them how they’re feeling rather than automatically resorting to punishment. It might seem silly now, and I understand that it feels easier to just send them to time out. But I can imagine that starting this now will begin to pay it forward once they’re teens!

The more you can get them to talk about their feelings, the easier it is for them to understand them and properly express them.

3 books about positive thinking for kids

An easy way to teach positive thinking for kids is to read to them! Kids love being read to anyway, and it is so good for their mental development. Plus, it can be a great way for you to bond!

Here are some books about positive thinking for kids that we really love in our house. You can click any of the images to order a copy, or use the link to search for a book just like it.

Book #1- Fiona Flamingo

fiona flamingo, positive thinking for kids

We love this book! Not only are the illustrations beautiful but it has a really great message. Accept yourself for who you are because we are all special and unique.

Book #2- Pete the Cat and the Perfect Pizza Party

pete the cat, positive thinking for kids

My kids think Pete the Cat is super funny. I like this book because it teaches kids to manage their expectations, and be okay with things not going exactly as planned.

Book #3- It’s Not Easy Being a Bunny

PJ funny bunny, positive thinking for kids

My kids love all the PJ Funnybunny books. They share a lot of great lessons about staying strong through disappointment, not always getting what you want, and being a good friend.

Children are the future as they say, so we need to make sure we’re raising happy kids

It’s more important than ever to make positive thinking for kids a priority. The kids we are teaching to use the potty today are going to be running our government in 40 years.

Really think about that. Are we doing everything we can to make sure they can lead with empathy, patience, and positivity? Are we making sure they can handle the disappointments of adult life?

Is teaching kids positivity a challenge for you? Let me know what you’re struggling with in the comments, and I will try my best to help. Also, please share this article with anyone that might benefit from my message about positive thinking for kids! You can share it using the buttons at the top of the page.

Use these positive thinking tips with your little ones (or big ones) today!

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Related posts about positive thinking:

21 awesome journaling ideas for positive thinking

7 helpful questions you need to ask each time you have a negative thought

51 positive quotes of encouragement to help you conquer 2020

Raising happy kids: How you can foster happiness and confidence

What limiting beliefs are (+7 easy ways to beat them)

52 thoughts on “Positive thinking for kids in 5 easy steps”

  1. I really like your tips about surrounding kids with positive media. What they watch and read affects them greatly and is a big influence over them. I like the books ideas you included and will have to buy them for my niece and nephews!

    1. Hey Kalin thanks! Not gonna lie, my kids watch a decent amount of cartoons but I try to pick stuff that’s educational or has a positive message. Thanks for reading!

    1. Hey Nyx, it’s never too early! We’re working on that hear and they’re little. It never hurts to start. Thanks for reading!

    1. Hey Swathi, I agree. It’s never too early to start since their brains are little sponges when they’re so little. Thanks for reading!

    1. Hey Angel, so glad you liked it! I think that is so true. We see their emotions as less important. Thanks for reading!

  2. It is good to have some ways to get kids thinking like this, and having a positive outlook. I like the idea of inspiring them to be more positive.

    1. Hey Marysa, I am trying to start while my kids are so young. I have spent pretty much my whole life so negative and I don’t want that for them. Thanks for reading!

  3. I completely agree! These are all so important, especially with everything going on in the world. Most importantly, it all starts with us as parents – just like you said.

  4. Jessica Formicola

    Introducing them to positive media is so important! There is so much negativity out there, we need to show them the light.

  5. This is such a wonderful post. I think positive thinking for kids is extremely important. As parents it’s very important to try to be very positive for your children.

  6. I always encourage my son to talk to me about anything. From his hobby to his school and even about his girlfriend and he’s always been open to me.

    1. Hey Lynndee, that is great! I am starting that topic with my oldest who is five- that she can always talk to me about any feelings even yucky ones. Hope it helps her. Thanks for reading!

  7. I’m very much an advocate of positive thinking – I think there is a lot of confidence that comes with it if you truly believe in it. It’s really helped me get through the tough times.

  8. I couldn’t agree with this more. We need to be instilling positive thinking into kids from a young age because it’s harder to combat the negative as they get older.

    Great advice pet!

  9. I totally agree with what you said. I feel as parents when we are more positive and help them to have a positive environment, then they will become more positive!

    1. Hey Kallie, definitely! It at least helps a little, and is worth a try. Kids benefit so much from being surrounded by happiness. Thanks for reading!

  10. Great post!! I struggle with anxiety and depression and I know I’m more negative than I should be sometime. I definitely need to work on that around the kiddos! I’m pinning this for future reference and to share with other parents.

    1. Hey Sarah, sorry you’ve been struggling! I hope you feel better soon. Thanks for reading and sharing the post!

  11. These are such great pointers. I have 3 young kids and since being home for so long we have been able to work on our communication and encouraging them to let me know how they are feeling.

    1. Hey Heather, that’s great! We’ve been trying to work on that here too. Hang in there, and thanks for reading!

  12. I love that you share some tips on helping kids use positive thinking! The sooner we learn to be happier in our minds, the sooner it comes into our lives, and childhood is a great place to start teaching, especially if we teach by teaching ourselves.

  13. I think this is especially important right now. So many kids are confused about what’s going on in the world, we have to keep positivity flowing.

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