Optimists tend to be more resilient and content with life, which goes for children as well as adults; but approaching life with a consistently positive mindset is a skill which has to be cultivated. As parents, it’s our responsibility to give children the tools they need to tackle challenges head on and bounce back from setbacks to achieve their goals, and there are many things we can do to help them with this. Here’s some ideas on how you can raise an optimistic child from a prep school in Somerset.
Focus on the positives
It’s human nature to pay more attention to the positives than the negatives; our biology has us always on the lookout for possible danger. It doesn’t help that we can watch tragic events unfolding worldwide on the news 24/7, or get instant news updates on social media; however, we can train ourselves to seek out the positives in any given situation. If you want your child to do this, encourage them to be mindful and conscious of the positives in their life by prompting them to identify the silver linings in challenging or disappointing situations, and make sure they see you doing the same. There’s always something good that can be found, so make a habit of finding the positives together to help your child become more resilient in the face of hardship.
The language we use to talk about difficult situations matters, and can actually change how we think about those situations. Rather than complain endlessly about something that’s niggling you or getting in the way of achieving a goal, make sure your child sees you approaching your circumstances with optimism and a can-do attitude. Try not to complain about having to wait too long in a supermarket queue or not getting a job, for example; instead, get your child involved in helping you reframe the situation into something more positive. Positivity is a habit, so regularly flipping seemingly negative circumstances around like this will get your child used to finding the silver linings and being able to more easily move on from disappointing situations.
Keep a sense of perspective
It’s worth explaining to your child that the news focuses on the bad (and often rare) things that happen in the world, rather than the good things which are happening all the time. It can help to moderate their news intake if possible so they don’t become convinced that the world is full of bad people doing horrible things. Getting your child involved in their local community can also help with this, as they’ll see that there are good people all around and good deeds being done constantly. While it’s good to have a broad viewpoint on the world, it’s also beneficial for children to learn about their immediate environment and how they can do some good there.
Modelling an optimistic approach to life yourself is one of the best things you can do to impress upon your child how having a positive mindset can help them overcome obstacles and setbacks, and ultimately achieve their goals in life.