TIPS FOR TEACHING CHILDREN TO KEEP A POSITIVE ATTITUDE February 03 2014
“In order to have a ‘good life’, youth need to have a positive view of the future. Researchers at Search Institute have found that a positive view of one’s future is a protective factor. This protective factor can guide youth in a positive direction and help them avoid negative influences.” (Teaching a Positive Attitude, 1997)
A positive attitude is exceptionally important for children of all ages, and it can be taught as well as reinforced by teachers, parents, and other authority figures in the child’s life. Here are a few ways you can help to teach children to have a positive attitude.
- Understand the value in your own actions. Children will watch and copy what you do. Maintaining a positive attitude in your own life is vital if you are to teach others to have a positive attitude.
- Use “teachable moments.” These are the often small moments in your own life or in the lives of others when you can help the children see how to overcome adversity and remain positive.
- Create opportunities. Do not expect children to sit quietly and listen to a speech on why they should stay positive. Instead, get them involved and active. Allow them to act out situations or respond to situations so that they may learn from them.
- Have children create an “attitude lesson.”
- Describe for them the difference between a person’s overall attitude, which affects how they tend to view people and life, and their current mood, which changes.
- Ask them to write the name of one person with a positive attitude and one with a negative attitude.
- Ask them to write down which of these two people they prefer to spend time with. If a student or two are comfortable sharing, have them describe the person and tell why they like spending time with them.
- Ask them to write down what their own attitudes are usually like.
- Finally, ask them to write one thing they could change about their attitude to become more positive. Take time over the next few days to speak briefly to each child about what he or she wrote, and let him or her know that you will support the effort to change that aspect of attitude.
- It is a good idea to teach children how to reframe bad situations in a positive light. Ask them to think of one thing that makes them feel bad. Then, ask them to reframe it and look for something positive.
Teaching students to keep a positive attitude is the foundation for other character lessons for children and will have a meaningful affect on their lives in the long run.
(1997). Teaching a Positive Attitude. Minneapolis: Search Institute.