Positive thinking has become a widely used to term, but what does it mean and how can we put it into action? Positive thinking is how you view an event in your life either positive or negative. Of course we should all be prepared for the not so good times, but how should we handle them or think about them when they do appear?
For some people creating a positive spin on a negative situation can seem natural, and these people tend to be optimistic people. This definitely does not come naturally to all people. It is even more worrying when it doesn’t come naturally to children.
When something bad happens there is more than one way it can be approached or thought about. Throughout my teaching career I have had many parents ask for help over their child’s negative thinking patterns. Read more
What is flow and how can it minimise the risk of depression? Flow is the state we’re in when we’re being creative, building a project or preparing for something. When we’re focused on a task or working towards a goal we don’t have time to worry, to feel anxious, angry or depressed.
Although, just because we’re busy doesn’t mean we are happy. We are usually so focused that we’re not in deep thought about anything other than what we are doing. We are being mindful.
This mindfulness about something can minimise the over thinking that causes anxiety and depression.
So how can you get into flow?
When I was little, before the worry dolls came into my life, my emotions were very intense and out of control. I would worry about how I spoke to someone, I would be scared that I’d get caught for something wrong I’d done, usually this was stealing my mum’s chocolate!
During my primary school years I would cry myself to sleep, wondering why so and so didn’t want to be my friend that day or why I’d been left out all week. I vividly remember nights of me crying to mum in my bedroom and saying soothingly, “Why don’t you find some new friends.” Or “Don’t let those girls bother you.”
Then one day, while out shopping, I saw these gorgeous little matchstick dolls. There were 7 of them and they came in a small, colourful drawstring bag that was the perfect size to fit under my pillow. It came with a tiny note, I can’t exactly remember what the note said, but it told me how to use them.
The instructions were along the lines of – Tell your worries to your dolls every night before you go to bed and put them under your pillow. When you wake up in the morning your dolls will have sorted out all of your worries for you.
The first night I have it ago I remember having one of the best sleeps ever! These dolls were magical.
I often mention these dolls to my students and I tell them that they don’t need to have proper worry dolls to help their worries disappear. They can talk to a soft toy or a poster, as long as they are airing out their worries and relinquishing the control over them. Because worries aren’t solved by worrying.
We are reading a beautiful book in class at the moment called the Worry Tree. If you have a daughter who worries a lot, this book is perfect.
Read my post on anxiety for more tips on how to stop worrying.
Children are often very forgiving little souls, although they do tend to hold onto some negative experiences in their lives. So how can we teach kids to forgive and forget, rather than forgive and remember.
There are two types of forgiveness. An optimistic child will forgive someone else’s wrong doing and leave it at that, however some children, that may be prone to low moods, will blame themselves for the any wrongs that were done. As parents or teachers the challenge is to help the child recognise that when they forgive, they need to practice to let the incident go altogether.
On the flip side of this are the children that are resistant to forgiveness. They may be labelled as stubborn, strong willed or distrusting, some of these may be used as terms of endearment. ‘She’s just like her father.’ or ‘It’s her nature.’ All of this is fine, it’s no surprise that some children are more open to the concept of forgiveness than others. Although positive psychology suggests that forgiveness is strongly linked to happiness. Forgiving and letting go can release the stress associated with holding onto a painful experience or a hurtful friendship.
So how can we teach forgiveness? There is no quick fix, although there are strategies. The first part (and most important) is to work with your child and relive the incident and think about the other side. This may not justify the event, but that’s not what we’re working towards, we are working towards forgiveness. The we need to let it go, this can be hard. I like to have a little ceremony, where the child writes down the issue and writes underneath I forgive.
One of the biggest challenges may be self-forgiveness. Children, just like adults, can often be to harsh on themselves. So practising letting go of shame, guilt, anxiety and all the issues that come with it is essential for some more sensitive children.
Forgiveness activities include:
Happy people and happy children have high self-esteem. They are content and they have reasonable goals that they work to meet. When they fail at something they don’t get in a mad, depressive panic they think about what went wrong and try to change it so that next time it will be better.
This self-esteem or trust in themselves that happy children or happy people have doesn’t necessarily come naturally. They have either seen it work for others or someone has guided them through this process. They have been guided to feel in control of their goals and the way in which they pursue them. Their goals haven’t been dictated by others, they have set them themselves.
Self-esteem is a trust that you have with yourself. That you can do this!
Positive Future Youth TV is here!
What is Positive Future Youth TV? It is an animated channel that helps children develop confidence, self-esteem and positive relationships. Each video is purpose built for children to watch and parents and teachers to guide. An extra bonus for teachers is that there is lesson plans attached to each video. Read more
Resilience can be a difficult skill to teach our kids, it can be a slow and emotional journey seeing them take every knock-back or small rejection to heart. Building resilience does take time and practice. Below are 7 tips that you can do with your child or students to help build resilience in children.
When some children don’t get their own way or think something is ‘totally unfair!’ they immediately come running to a parent or teacher. Sometimes all they need to do is take a deep breath and survey the situation. This helps them calm down and not be so reactive. They might come to the conclusion to let the issue go, or to compromise with the child they are frustrated or annoyed with. Read more
Anxiety is so common in our children. I still remember reading the word anxiety in ‘Dolly’ or ‘Girlfriend’ magazine when I was a tween, but never fully understanding what it meant. Then one day I decided to look it up… I couldn’t believe how well one word described me! I was terrified to go out with new people, worried what they would think of me, I was terrified in the classroom, thinking over and over in my head ‘this is too hard, this is too hard’. I would stress out about not having friends, I would stress out about what I had said to them. I had anxiety!
I see this in so many of my students, way to much worry for someone so small. Of course for them the worry doesn’t seem to last long… or does it?
So what can we do to help this situation? In my classroom there are 5 activities that I do to help anxious children stay calm. Read more
Do you or your kids ever chill? I don’t just mean chillin’ in front of the TV or iPad. I mean chill with no stimulus.
If the answer is no, read on… Read more
Does you child talk negatively to themselves? Is your child to harsh on themselves when they do something wrong? I see it so much in teaching… Anxieties about learning come out most fierce when they get a mark they’re not happy about, get in trouble or make a mistake. A way to help an anxious child is to help them learn strategies for positive self talk.
As an adult it is hard to hear a child talk like that about themselves. Here are a few tips to help them ‘talk positive’ to themselves: Read more