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?
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)
This post contains affiliate links. That means that if you click a link and make a purchase, I receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. See my Privacy and Affiliate Disclaimer pages for more info.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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
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
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.