Updated: Dec 3, 2020
We all want to inspire a positive attitude in our kids. It makes family life way more fun, but even more importantly, it's a significant contributing factor to a child's healthy emotional well-being.
So, how can we encourage kids to develop a positive attitude? In today’s busy society, it’s hard to find the time to slow down and develop these skills with our children. However, if done consistently, they can positively shape your child’s mindset.
Here are some simple hands-on activities to help your children focus on the positivity in their lives!
Parents, it starts with us!
Working with children for many years, I have seen kids with all kinds of attitudes. Sometimes children come in with a bad case of the grumps. Nothing pleases them and any attempt to engage with them is met with a pouting lip!
But even kids with the grumps can learn to look on the bright side!
A child’s environment has a huge impact on their personality development, so it’s important to reinforce positive thinking habits at a young age.
Children do as they see, not as they’re told. If you consistently model a positive attitude, then your children will likely do the same.
So, how can we model a positive attitude?
Fun family activities can help both you and your kids focus on the positives (and even give you a chance to get to know your children better).
Try these eight hands-on activities to encourage a positive attitude in your kids!
1. Create quote books for easy access to inspiration!
Have you ever read a positive quote at just the right moment? Think about the powerful impact it had on you. Now imagine what those positive thoughts can do for your kids. Words have power, so why not surround your kids with positive thoughts?
The activity itself is simple! Buy cute notebooks from the Dollar Store and decorate the covers. Then, once a week or once a month, choose a positive quote to share with your kids or ask them to choose one themselves. Write the quotes in your books together, adding color and drawings to make it fun. Talk as a family about why these quotes stand out to you and how you'll keep them in mind when you need them most!
2. Ask family members to talk about their Success of the Day every night!
These could include:
Standing up for a peer
Standing up for something you believe in
A learning accomplishment
A skill mastered
Learning something new
An act of kindness
A good conversation
Finishing a project
The goal is to focus on accomplishments. Ask your kids to keep a simple journal of these successes and celebrate them together. You’ll find that success tends to breed more success.
Of course, it is important to acknowledge mistakes and failures. But one redeeming thing about mistakes is that they provide opportunities for learning and growth. We can help our children learn those lessons.
3. Create Rainbow Fuzzy Jars!
The Rainbow Fuzzy Jar is an empty mason jar that can give kids' a visual tool to understand the power of being kind. Whenever your child does something helpful or caring, place a colorful pom-pom in the jar. The more good they put out into the world, the more color fills the jar.
4. Make your kids smile with some Morning Love Notes!
Kind words can go a long way for a child. After they go to bed, leave a sweet, short note for them by their bedside or toothbrush or on the breakfast table. It will be the first thing they see when they wake up!
Even better, invite your children to make Love Notes for their teachers, grandparents, neighbors, or siblings. Get them excited about the idea of surprising someone with kindness.
5. Live out an act of kindness!
Help your kids see kindness in action with volunteering, service, or even small acts of kindness. In little and big ways, they'll start to see the positive difference they can make. These acts can be:
helping your neighbors
visiting or helping seniors
volunteering in your community
public art projects
Speaking of which...
6. Use art to help children manage and transform large feelings!
Often, our feelings are too big for words. And for kids, big feelings can sometimes be hard to express constructively. Set aside some time every few weeks — or after a tantrum — for your kids to express themselves through art.
Be it finger painting, Play-Doh sculpting, or coloring, an open-ended medium can give kids the freedom they need to make sense of what's going on inside their heads and hearts. Let them experiment, get messy, and create stories or metaphors. Ask them where they get their ideas and explore positive ways to deal with what they're putting on the page.
7. Make a vision board to share your family's vision and goals!
It's easy for the future to feel foggy, especially for young ones. So, bring your hopes and dreams into reality with vision boards! Come together as a family with paper, magazine clippings, or online print-offs to visualize each person's interests and goals.
Once they're done, display everyone's boards in a place of honor, be it the fridge or framed on the wall!
8. Try motivational art activities!
Boost your kids' creative confidence and self-esteem with motivational art activities, or art projects focused on positive affirmations.
Write down or print out your favorite affirmations and encourage your kids to pick their favorites. They can paste them on colorful construction paper or make a collage of several of their favorites. Once they're done, hang the work of art in their room so they're surrounded by positive, powerful words!