Teaching Positivity in a Sometimes Negative World
It is mid-September and we have all had a few weeks to adjust from our summer mode to our school and work routines. Some of us have embraced the change willingly, while others of us have dragged our feet, holding onto the last days of a more leisurely schedule. If you fall into the latter category, autumn might be a time of struggle, and it may require extra effort to greet the day with a positive attitude. Your children might be wrestling with the same difficulties. There are some strategies available that may help you and your children to have a more positive outlook on life.
Morning affirmations are one way to begin the day. There are a variety of methods to accomplish this, but the goal is to make oral statements that you and your child believe are true. For example, “I am a kind and honest person”, “I can run really fast”, or “I love singing in the car on the way to school”. These affirmations can be written as well. You may want to post them in locations where you will see them, such as on the bathroom mirror, the kitchen table or the door. Taking a few minutes each morning to focus on positive thoughts can set the tone for the rest of the day.
Taking a breath before reacting to something negative, and giving your mind a chance to decide how to respond can help determine your mood. Give yourself the opportunity to direct your thoughts. Rather than becoming angry at someone’s rude statement, stop and decide to not allow that person to control your emotions. You can model this for your child when something that could cause a negative reaction occurs, but you consciously choose to respond differently. For example, you burn the toast that you are making for breakfast. Typically you might yell, throw something, or even curse. In reality, is it that big of a deal? Take a breath and let it go. It’s a piece of toast. You might voice your frustration about burning it, but you can do it without anger. You can help your child do the same by talking through it with him/her. Help your child realize that annoying situations are just an irritation, but can be looked at in a more positive manner. It’s not always easy and requires a conscious effort.
Teaching kids how to be kind to others not only influences the positivity in their own lives, but it has a profound effect on those around them. Sharing, taking turns, and speaking politely are typical examples of ways that children are taught to be kind, but they can take a more active role such as volunteering at a shelter, helping an elderly neighbor, or inviting a shy classmate to play. One of my friends wrote inspirational messages on paper with her children and left them inside library books for others to find. Imagine a child opening a book and finding a message that says, “You are awesome!”
There are countless ways to teach positivity each day. You may want to check out some articles such as, http://www.momentsaday.com/10-activities-help-young-children-develop-a-positive-attitude/ or https://www.guideposts.org/better-living/positive-living/positive-thinking/positive-thinking-for-kids
During camp counselors strive to be positive role models for kids and to make their camp experiences positive ones each day. Let’s keep it going throughout the school year!
Green Acres; it’s the place to be!
-Lynn Camacho, Junior Camp Program Director
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