How to Encourage Positive Thinking
in Your Family

See also: Improving Self-Esteem

Positive thinking increases your self-image and allows you to take on new challenges. Negative thoughts can lower self-esteem and make you scared to take risks. This can then lead to negative thoughts, like “I’m not good enough.” These emotions can impact children in school and friendships. So, teaching positivity is key to helping your kids succeed.

Here are 12 ways to encourage optimism in your family.

1. Compliment Your Child's Personality

Staying positive involves feeling good about who you are as a person. While you may typically  compliment your child's appearance, give more character praises. For example, tell them that they are smart or have a kind heart. Be specific about the action you admire.

Pay attention to their accomplishments in school and acknowledge these. For example, did they do well on a test? These compliments can make kids feel appreciated and valued. Then will have a positive attitude when interacting with friends and family. Just focus on praising efforts rather than outcomes.

2. Give Your Kids Positive Attention

One way to promote positivity is to encourage kids to feel internally happy. So, give them plenty of hugs and offer kind words. These happy experiences reset their mind to focus on the good times. Then encourage your kids to spread kindness by forgiving or helping others. Being kind makes them feel good about themselves and promotes positive thoughts.

On the other hand, talking down to your kids can leave them feeling hopeless. If they experience more bad times, they can think that’s normal. This can cause them to be scared to take on challenges for fear of failure.

3. Encourage Your Kids to Be More Grateful

Negative thoughts can stem from comparing ourselves to others. It's an easy thing to do with the rise of social media. It's natural to assume other people are living more exciting lives than us. Plus, some kids may compare their body image to other classmates. Also, some adults may brag about their child's accomplishments even with kids around.

All this can lead to negative emotions and feelings of inferiority. So, to promote positivity, lead by example at home. Make comments about things you're grateful for, such as nice weather or how an outfit fits really well. This attitude will hopefully rub off on your youngsters. Have them keep a gratitude journal to remind them of all the wonderful things in their life.

4. Promote Positivity at Dinner

The dinner table is the best place to spread positivity. Put away phones and listen to how your family members' day was. Have your kids say something good about their day. Then make sure to show excitement and encourage them to give details. Hyping up this positive experience allows them to feel happier about the future.

Also, have them share a not-so-great moment from the day. Then take the chance to turn it into a learning experience. Suppose your kid doesn't get a lead part in a play. Remind them how well they did within their role and that there is always next year.

5. Use Visual Reminders

Sometimes kids learn better through visual cues. So, hang positive messages on bathroom mirrors or the kitchen fridge. Look for inspirational signs with quotes. These sayings should focus on looking at the brighter side of things despite challenges. You can also opt for simple posters that say “Thankful.”

You could even take your kids to the store and have them help pick out the decor. Seeing these reminders encourages your kids to start the day with a positive attitude. They might even inspire your spouse and promote a more peaceful household.

6. Teach Your Child Positive Self-Talk

Hearing compliments from others can encourage a good attitude. However, the motivation also needs to come from within. So, encourage your kids to talk positively about themselves. Pay attention to how they handle challenging situations. Do they immediately blame themselves? If you catch this behavior, remind them that failing is how you grow.

Encourage them to say things like “I can handle life’s challenges” whenever facing an obstacle. This optimistic view will give them more confidence in themselves moving forward. Also, remind them to talk positively about their appearance and character. Tell them daily how special they are. You could also have them write a list of their positive traits as a visual reminder. Plus, encourage them to hang out with supportive people who make them feel good about themselves.

7. Spend Quality Time with Your Kids

Spending time with your family can encourage a sense of value. If your kid feels special, they will have a more positive outlook on life. Also, take the time to learn more about their strengths so that you can highlight these often. Then do activities with them that require those skills to boost their self-confidence.

It also gives you a chance to model good behavior for your kids. So, make sure you have an optimistic attitude as you bond. Also, ask them about their day. Take the time to learn what stressors they have in their life. That way, you can help relieve some of these making your kid feel happier.

8. Encourage Your Children to Eat a Proper Diet

Eating a healthy diet keeps your blood sugar levels stable which prevents mood swings. Being in a good mood is a simple way to think more positively. Eating healthy also has physical benefits, including strengthening your muscles. 

So, stock your fridge with plenty of fruits and vegetables. Plus, encourage your kids to make healthier choices at school. For example, pack fruit for a midday snack. Also, teach them portion control, which can help with weight management. Plus, it can discourage self-indulgent tendencies in the future.

9. Encourage Your Kids to Always Try Their Best

Allows encouraging your child to give their best efforts. This can help them develop reliance and inner strength. Even if they don't achieve a goal, reward solid attempts. Remind them how they have grown from the experience.

That way, they will feel good about taking on challenges regardless of the outcome. As they build up new skills, their confidence will improve, and they start to feel more capable. You can also model this behavior for yourself. Whenever you’re trying something new with your family, give your best effort.

10. Support Your Local Community

Giving back to your community is an excellent way to keep a positive mindset. Volunteering allows you to connect with others who hold similar values. This can encourage friendships that make you happier.

Volunteering also shows your kids the difference they can make in your community. Then they may feel more hopeful about the world and even themselves. You can research these opportunities on sites like VolunteerMatch. Also, you can do simple things like tutoring or mowing your neighbor's lawn.

11. Remind Your Kids to Take Responsibility for Their Actions

Often negative thoughts can come from feelings of anxiety and stress. However, understanding that we have control over our emotions is essential. Remind your kids they decide how they react to things. This sense of ownership can encourage confidence.

Being more sure in yourself is an easy way to have a positive mindset. So, encourage your youngsters to take responsibility for their actions and emotions. Then model this behavior by staying accountable and admitting when you make mistakes.

12. Allow Your Kids to Express Their Emotions

One way to embrace positivity is by giving your children space to express their feelings. Remind them it's okay to feel a range of emotions from happiness to sadness. This makes your child feel more comfortable with negative feelings, reducing stress. When they feel upset, talk through the issue with them, encouraging positivity.

The better they are at expressing their emotions, the easier it will be to find a solution. Remind them that every problem has some resolution. This can inspire a more optimistic outlook on the future.

Tips to Motivate Your Family

Being optimistic can sometimes be challenging. Life stress can make it harder for your family members to look on the bright side of things. So, follow these tips to create a positive household environment.

About the Author

Ava Roman (she/her) is the Managing Editor of Revivalist, a women’s lifestyle magazine that empowers women to live their most authentic life. When Ava is not writing you'll find her in a yoga class, advocating for body positivity, whipping up something delicious in the kitchen, or smashing the patriarchy.