How to Teach Kids Optimism
Guest Post by: Megan Massey, Certified Child Life Specialist
Recently I’ve been really burned out, consumed by the overwhelming events of the world. I feel a physical weight and sadness in it all. It’s important to join in the pain of others, recognizing their hurt and standing with people during hardships. It’s equally important to practice self-care. It was on one of these extra heavy days that I chose to click through a series of uplifting stories and images of people simply choosing a moment of love or kindness. Luckily for me they captured it in a picture, or video, and shared it with the world. I had tears of joy streaming down my face as I felt the emotional weight of all that I was carrying being released.
We all tend to hold on to the struggles of our day, the one thing that didn’t go as we had planned, the comment that landed poorly, or the unexpected feedback. It’s the same for our kids. I’ve seen it in my child’s body language-when he gets in a funk. He’s hard to engage, everything irritates him, he’s bored and unable to move on. I did not instantly pull up the link for heartwarming stories-that would not land the same way it did for me.
However, at the end of each day, my kids get their own little moment of one on one time with me. They each have their own bedtime routine, a favorite song, or a back scratch, or a magic kiss to last the entire night, and a prayer. Included in my son’s routine is a challenge, “tell me about the good in your day.” He’s gotten to the point where his competitive spirit likes to count the number of things he can think of, constantly trying to find more than the day before.
My hope is that this practice will help change his heart, and his eyes. Shaping how he sees the world, and how he carries his burdens and his blessings. Reminding him that as he goes to sleep-there was good in his day, even if he has to think hard to find it.
Here are some prompts to try out with your child:
Tell me about the good you saw or felt today.
What is something good you saw or did today?
It doesn’t have to have emphasis on the “best” thing that happened that day.
You can also include:
“What was the most challenging part of your day?”
“How do you think you handled that?”
“If you could do it all over again is there anything you would change?”
If the conversation opens up a discussion about challenges, try to end with some positives 😊
Here is the link of images and stories I clicked through.
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