If you could instill positive qualities and attitudes within your children, in order for them to lead healthy, happy and productive lives, what would that look like? This quote from Carol B. Hillman really sums it up, “One of the most important things we adults can do for young children is to model the kind of person we would like them to be.”
We spoke with Kelli DiDomenico of The Children’s Workshop who shared some things to consider when trying to encourage positive traits in your young ones.
Start from the beginning…
- Lead by example – We as parents, often have the opportunity to have hundreds, if not thousands of interactions with our children on a daily and/or weekly basis. So really make the most of this time and lead by example. Take this wonderful opportunity to model the desired positive interactions and attitudes with them. We can’t expect our children to react to a situation with a sunny outlook if we model the complete opposite. We need to practice what we preach! Our kiddos will imitate the positive thinking patterns by our very own modeling of the desired behavior. It’s the best way to teach our children about this very valuable quality.
- Promote a positive self-concept – Wow this is a really important component when thinking about promoting positivity within your child. We need to lay the foundation over time as caregivers to consistently send positive and loving messages to our kids. This self-confidence will lay the ground work for them to forge healthy relationships and promote a good self-esteem. Which in turn can foster this positive environment in a natural way.
- Create a positive environment – Shake of the negativity in your household. It’s sometimes very easy to fall into the same old routine of focusing on the undesirable things. We have all done it. You come home after a long day of work and school and you notice the things that are wrong…dishes aren’t done, the house is a mess, or the kids didn’t do their homework yet. Turn that negative attitude around. It starts with us. Take the opportunity when you come home from work and the kids come home from school to focus on the positive rather than the negative. It can be simple things, such as, what a great day I had at work, the weather was beautiful outside today or recognize something nice within your children. It’s easy to do!
- Tools – Positive self -talk – A great way to foster an environment of positivity is to teach your child about the power of positive thoughts and self-talk. This a great tool to add to your child’s toolbox of strategy’s to enhance their lives. You can start with encouraging positive affirmations, such as I can do it, I will find a solution to a problem I’m having or I can try again. These phrases are simple but effective! Remember that we as parents are always going to be our child’s first teacher no matter what other outside influences they may be exposed to in their lives.
- Focus on their strengths – Keep in mind that all children are unique and special in their own ways and we need to bring that to the forefront when we are thinking about this topic. Maybe take a moment to do a fun exercise with them. Simply ask them to identify 5 things that they are really good at and you can do the same. Then take some time to openly communicate with each other about them and maybe even expand on it.
- Take responsibility for your actions – Let’s face it…sometimes we all can make bad choices. But I really believe that these choices just offer us the learning opportunity, as adults, to have a teachable moment with our children. It’s great to teach our children to take responsibility for their actions. But also even better to teach them they can make a different choice next time.
The key to effectively getting your children to consistently engage in this desired behavior is for us as parents to take ownership for spending quality time with our children and be the role models that they need and deserve. We need to lead by example with love, kindness and consistency. And when things aren’t moving in the direction that we like, all we need to do is pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off and change directions. Tomorrow is always another day that is filled with limitless possibilities.