Positive thinking: why it’s good for children, teenagers and parents
Positive thinking can help you and your child notice and appreciate the good things in your lives.
It’s easy to spend a lot of time thinking about things that have gone wrong. When you do this, these things can seem overwhelming and lead to worry and stress. But when you learn to think positively, you can keep difficult times in perspective.
And if you focus on the positives and keep the negatives in perspective, it’s good for your happiness and wellbeing.
The more you think positively, the easier it becomes. A positive thinking activity can get you and your children into the habit of thinking more positively about things that have gone well and why.
How to do a positive thinking activity
- Each day for a week, take 10-15 minutes to write down 3 things that went well. This could be something as simple as ‘My son gave me a nice smile this morning’. Or it might be a major event – for example, ‘I organised my daughter’s birthday party’.
- Underneath each thing that went well, write what you did to make it happen. For example, if you put ‘My son gave me a nice smile today’, you could write, ‘I smiled and he smiled back’.
- Try to give it a go for a week. It might feel odd to do this at first, but it gets easier with practice.
People who do this positive thinking exercise say they feel happier, less worried and less sad. Why not spread the happiness by sharing this activity with your family and friends?
Adapting positive thinking for children at different stages
You might need to do this activity with younger children so you can help them come up with ideas. For example, your younger child might have built a Lego creation that they really like. Younger children might also find it easier to draw pictures of the positive things they’re focusing on, like a picture of a Lego block.
Older children and teenagers can try doing this exercise by themselves. But they might be going through more ups and downs than they used to, so there might be days when they find it harder to think positively. Some gentle encouragement from you can help. For example, you might need to remind your child that they finished a tricky assignment or helped out with extra family chores.