How To Teach Children To Have A Positive Attitude ?

“I can give you the scissors, but you have to be very, very careful because scissors are….”, paused the 4 years old looking at me to complete the sentence. I didn’t expect it and was still looking for something to reply. ‘Sharp’, said she, passing on the plastic scissors to me to cut a piece of paper. It was simple to converse with her and play along, but the conversation takes a different shape and direction when I talk to my teenage son. His emotions have become more complex compared to what he had when he was younger. I realised when children are young we give them simple instructions, like in this case of using the scissors, they are sharp and that they might hurt if not used carefully. As children grow the guidelines become more complex and they start learning that there is more to what we speak and think. What we speak, think and do, impacts us as well as other people around us. In the light of this awareness, it becomes important that we make sure we have a positive attitude. Fostering a positive attitude to encourage an optimistic outlook on life starts very early and it starts with us, the parents, before we teach our children. This reminds me of the wise words of Michael Jackson, ‘If you want to make the world a better place, then look at yourself and make the change.’ Children learn by observing and they observe their parents a lot. So the best way is to be their role model. Practising what we preach is the golden rule here. 

Sometimes an unpleasant conversation ruins our entire day that’s because our mind clings to the negative thoughts. If we understand this, then we can intentionally train our minds to see the positive side of things.

Here are some ideas that can turn a dull day into a brighter one.

  • Being thankful for everything good that has happened in a day. Whether it was a smile from a stranger or you could witness the sun rise in the morning. Happy moments, even thinking about them, can suppress stress and anxiety, and then we are in better control to respond to any situation in a positive way.
  • Knowing that no one slides through life without failures. Failures are part of our life and rephrasing those failures can turn it into a motivation to achieve success the next time. For example, note the difference in these two sentences, ‘Sometimes you win and sometimes you lose.’ The other way to say it is, ‘Sometimes you win and sometimes you learn.’ The situation is the same but the outlook is different.

If we think we didn’t lose but we learnt about our mistake, then it will leave us feeling motivated to correct that mistake and also feel stress-free.

  • Not letting ourselves fall prey to other people’s complaints or dissatisfaction. This is very common at the workplace and we tend to get dragged into the complaint trap. Complaining leads to negative emotions. You don’t want to get affected and carry the negativity home to your children, right?!
  • As a professional, we all give feedback in a positive way to our team members but when it comes to our own children we miss the positive side of the feedback. Pointing out problems in handwriting, test scores, behaviour or habits is good, but not without highlighting a solution to rectify that problem.
  • Every day make someone smile. It sounds simple, but when you think of it there can be days that have passed without making anyone happy. We are busy doing the school runs, rushing to work, meeting deadlines and planning for the next day. We miss noticing the little joys in our daily life. Imagine how you would feel when someone smiles at you or wishes you a good day.

Children understand positive attitude better when they see their parents demonstrating that attitude every day. Change yourself (if you lack a positive attitude) to make your children optimistic and resilient. Depending on the age of the child they perceive things and express their emotions differently, so being consistent in demonstrating a positive attitude will in turn help your children develop a positive attitude, and would eventually shape them into emotionally stable, resilient, motivated and energetic adults.


 This blog is submitted by Lakshmi Kolnaty, who is a communication professional and a freelance blogger. She has a special interest in education sector. She made a significant contribution in this sector working with schools in India. Currently, she is a School Governor in UK. She loves art, travel, world culture, meeting interesting people, food and nature.