Attitude is everything—especially during these trying times. Students of all ages are undoubtedly impacted by not only their own daily stresses, but also by the stress that the adults in their lives are currently managing. The sponges that they are, even young, elementary-aged children are picking up on the fact that mom, dad, and other adults around them are coping with greater levels of stress and concern these days. They may not know exactly what is going on in the world right now, but they are certainly aware that something is “off.” The uncertainty of the school year alone is disconcerting for kids, but parents can help. Just as we adults may exude tension or worry, we can also work to put out a contagiously positive attitude.
Self-care and words of affirmation
One way that adults can help to foster a positive attitude is to model and encourage self-care and positive self-talk. These affirmations can be especially beneficial during times of high stress, conflict, or tumult. Teach children these reminders and explain them as deliberate attitude adjustments to use when they feel themselves going into a negative headspace.
Examples of positive self-talk and affirmations might include:
- Because I’m smart, I am capable of making my own decisions.
- My attitude is something that I can 100% control, even when other things are out of my control.
- I am allowed to take a moment to calm down when I need it.
- No one is perfect; everyone in the world has flaws.
- My differences make me unique.
- I am allowed to make mistakes—everyone does.
- My failures don’t mean that I’m a failure.
- I will give it all my effort and that will be good enough.
- I will choose to lift others up today.
- My parents are proud of me, even if I mess up sometimes.
- Worrying will not solve problems, but creativity can.
- People who really love me will accept me for exactly who I am.
- I know what is best for me.
- I have a lot to offer and my ideas are worth sharing.
Teaching kids about how to use self-talk to build themselves up gives them a foundation for strong self-esteem. These helpful mantras also help children to remember what is important in moments of stress or struggle—a positive belief system can make all the difference in a chaotic moment.
Set a purpose for the day
Another great way to change a child’s negative perspective is to intentionally articulate what positive things today will bring. Parents can use these conversations as a beautiful way to start the day. Setting expectations for a worthwhile day, especially when children are feeling down and out, can act as a positivity springboard for the whole day.
Phrases could include:
- Today I’m going to try my best to accomplish _________.
- I plan to challenge myself by _________.
- One thing that I’m really looking forward to today is _________.
- I hope to have learned more about _________ by the end of today.
- I’m most looking forward to seeing/talking to _________ today.
- Steps that I’ll take today to reach a larger goal include _________.
- I’m going to help someone out today by _________.