One of the most genuine moments about children is that we can always see them wearing big smiles as they enjoy all the good things in their tiny, little world. It is pure joy to simply witness them dance in the rain or delight in the warmth of the sun with little worries and so much innocence.
This is why when we find out that they rant about things that upset them, let’s say, a playmate who they find annoying, for example, we begin to worry a little – how can such negativity suck the joy out of our children?
Negative emotions are normal and existent. Even our kids can experience them. However, they’re not really a “bad thing” as these emotions help our kids understand people around them better. Nevertheless, these thoughts can take a toll on them too, and they may end up developing negative habits and attitudes if we won’t be able to guide them through that process of understanding.
Luckily for us, parents, we can help them build positive attitudes that could give them an upper hand when dealing with all the negativities in life. Here are some activities that will help your child develop a positive attitude.
1. LEARN POSITIVE THOUGHTS THROUGH ART
We know that art is the ultimate expression of human thoughts and emotions. But what only a few of us know is that art is also an underrated tool of education. When helping our kids establish positive behaviors, we can use the power of art to instill good thoughts in our young ones.
When kids are stressed and upset, coloring books can provide them with coloring books that contain positive words and images. As they color the pages, talk them through the meaning of each positive word and image and how they can positively impact them. The activity may not only let them forget their present predicament, but it will also provide them something to pour their emotions into. It will help them redirect their current negative energy into something more productive and creative.
2. CREATING MANTRAS
Mantras are incantations or invocations practiced in diverse religions that are still as relevant now as they were during ancient times. Studies reveal that reciting mantras either mentally or verbally helps calm the brain and provides a moment of self-reflection and self-judgment.
We can teach our kids some valuable and creative ‘spells’ which they can ‘cast’ to dispel negative feelings should they come across difficult people. Mantras can be a single word, a phrase, or a sentence, depending on the person. The best example of this is from the movie 3 Idiots, where the lead character shared his mantra, “All is well, “to his friends. The character reveals that the mantra helps to ‘fool’ their hearts into thinking that they can courageously and successfully deal with the distressing matter at hand. Establishing this habit for our kids can be handy, especially when they grow up and face new challenges in setting their goals and priorities.
3. POETRY FOR POSITIVITY
Teaching poetry to our kids is one of the best gifts we can ever give them, and we can do even better by teaching them positive vocabulary as well! We can start by letting our kids do an acrostic. An acrostic is a poem where each first letter of a line spells out a word. So, for example, we can let them do an acrostic of the word, KINDNESS.
An example of an acrostic:
Keeping it cool
No one is alone
Delight in helping others
Not leaving anyone behind
Enjoys making others happy
Spreading more kindness
Acrostics are fun to get your child into thinking about what traits a positive person has and what they do to become one. This process of brainstorming provides them with an opportunity to reflect and become self-aware.
4. KINDNESS JARS AND SWEAR JARS
Swear jars are a thing not only to kids but also to adults as well. It works as a sort of ‘punishment’ whenever a person violates the rules. Whenever someone uses a swear word or foul language in swear jars, they have to put a certain amount to the jar. Swear jars not only lets your kids limit their use of negative words, but it also subtly lets them save pennies which they can use later (not that we want them to fill their jars, though). This activity is a form of ‘negative reinforcement’ that discourages destructive behaviors and establishes new, positive ones.
On the other hand, kindness jars are somewhat the same as to swear jars – only that we are not ‘punishing bad behaviors’ but ‘rewarding positive ones’ instead. When our kids do something kind or good, we can reward them by chipping into their piggy banks and jars. This one’s a better approach than swear jars as it is more positive and light. Several studies reveal that positive reinforcement, such as rewards, has better impacts on kids when establishing good behaviors compared to negative reinforcement.
5. KINDNESS DIARY
Kids are surprisingly full of too much energy to do a lot of stuff during the day and lose count of them. Giving our kids a kindness diary can help them keep a ‘log’ of every good thing they have done during the day. Let your kids design their journals for a more personal experience. When your child keeps track of his or her good behaviors, chances are, he or she will keep doing it. Having a kindness diary not only lists down their ‘kindness encounters’ but also reminds them of the warm feeling of doing good to others.
A quick note, though, even as kids, their diaries can be pretty personal and only go through them with their permission. Doing so will give them a sense of privacy and, at the same time, develop trust between you and your child.