teaching kids to be positive thinkers

What IS Positive Thinking? I believe many of us don't really understand what this means. Its not about us simply controlling our thoughts.   Thoughts are endless and at times, merciless.  What we can control is what thoughts WE PAY ATTENTION TO and HOW WE REACT to our THOUGHTS.  Positive Thinking is NOT about trying to control WHICH thoughts we HAVE.  It isn’t just about saying positive things over and over in the hopes you will convince yourself you are nice, patient,smart,and things will change, etc.

Positive thinking is more about understanding that sometimes things happen in life good and bad and to see the brighter side of what has occurred.  If your child fell off their bike, they may be upset and you may feel like rescuing them, explain to them that yes they have fallen but now they know maybe not to turn the handle bars so sharply the next time. Lesson learned. It doesn't mean that next time it wont happen, it just means that every situation can be a learning experience and life is about learning and growing.  To think positively about experiences can only help us get through to the next life lesson.  In the moment, of course, its horrible or painful, but its how you view it that makes a difference. Positive thinking! So how do we do this?  

To start, positive thinking isn't about having on “rose colored glasses”, that would be a bit delusional.  No, every scenario isn't bright and we shouldn't be naive to think we walk through life with no problems.  But once your child fell off that bike, the next step is to evaluate the situation.  Why did you fall off that bike? Did you steer to sharply?, did you not balance your weight? Identifying what went wrong leads to mental growth and awareness. Now you are aware of what you need to do the next time to not fall again. Thats called taking action.   

take action

Taking action is key.  We cant keep doing things the same way and expecting a different result right?  so talking your child through and experience will help encourage them to do this on their own and they feel empowered which leads to a more positive self worth. 


Affirmations are great to keep encouraging yourself and kids to keep and stay positive. When I was a college cheerleader, our squad would say before every competition and every game, “I believe in myself, I believe in my squad, and with that we shall succeed”, we would say it over and over and it would pump us up to get out there and work it! While repeating positive affirmations can definitely be helpful and I practice it every day, Positive Thinking is about CHOOSING to pay attention to the positive thoughts, DISMISSING the negative thoughts, and REACTING appropriately to all thoughts so as not to cause suffering for yourself or others AND to bring about the most beneficial outcome for all. 

success of the day

Each night before bed, at dinner or while taking an after-dinner walk ask your children their success of the day. The success could be a great conversation, an accomplishment at school, something they are proud of, a situation where they helped someone, etc.

The important thing is to help them focus on accomplishments instead of failures. When we help our children expect success, look for success, and celebrate success they find more success and gain more confidence. Of course they need to learn from their mistakes and failures, but let’s help them to not dwell on them. 

bedtime prayer

A ritual such as this provides your children with a foundation of peace, security, and confidence that gives them the strength to take on the daily challenges of being a child.  It doesn't matter what “god” you believe in its a form of mediation that can help.

controlling Inner monologues

Teach your children to control their inner monologues. These are the statements they constantly repeat to themselves in their minds, such as “I’m so bad at math. I’m never going to pass the class.” Help them replace these negative statements by stating, aloud or silently: “I might be having a hard time understanding math, but I will keep trying and reach out to others for help with it, like my teachers, parents and other students.” 

positive environments

Try to create a positive environment in your home by watching funny movies, telling jokes and stories. Explain to your children that just smiling and laughing can help shift your brain chemistry and make you feel good, according to the University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics.


Provide your children plenty of affection in the form of kind words, hugs, kisses, high fives and pats on the back.

develop hobbies

Help your children develop hobbies they are good at to increase their confidence. You can, for example, encourage your child who has a lovely singing voice, to take voice classes to help her develop her singing ability more.

keep a journal

Encourage your children to keep a journal to keep track of accomplishments and disappointments. When your child experiences a disappointment, have him reflect on the lessons he can take from the experience to avoid repeating the mistake in the future. Praise him for showing maturity and recognizing the lesson and for taking a proactive approach to mistakes instead of dwelling on them. 

"i like me" list

Write down each week what you like about yourself, and try not to repeat!  This is hard!  But its fun to see how you can get deep and think beyond the surface. 

learn by example

They learn by example, YOU (parents) be positive!  Encourage them, congratulate them on achievements.  Even if something was done wrong, start by saying what the positive thing was first.  Show them how you “don’t sweat the small stuff”. Show them how you make mistakes and don't dwell in it.  Show them how you are not so critical and negative.  Put downs are never ok.  We need to uplift one another and ourselves.  

be positive to others

I even take it to the next level sometimes…if I see someone at the grocery store or in the mall and I can tell they are not having a good day, I will compliment them on something.  “Girl, I love your shoes!”, “Oh you look really handsome today”, whatever it may be, you never know when your positivity can help change someone else’s outlook.