Optimism is the ability to look at the positive side. Optimism has many benefits including better health and lesser stress. Optimists are also better at social relationships. In fact, an optimist is also willing to take risks which often lead to success and is also able to rebound faster from disappointment. And most importantly, optimists tend to develop the persistence to succeed.
While some children maybe born optimists, other children need to be encouraged. And it does not matter what age the children are. We, as parents, should keep encouraging our children to be optimistic, till they become adults.
Here are some tips that Indian parents can use to foster optimism.
- Small steps to victory - If you put a big task in front of your child, she may feel frustrated or afraid. Instead break it down into small tasks and work with them take it one step at a time. Do not pressure them to do it. When they achieve one step their confidence increases and then they can try for the next step.
- Effort - Stress the importance of persistent effort. If they are about to give up, talk to them about how much effort they have already put in. Appreciate their effort. Encourage them to keep trying.
- Right encouragement - When they succeed, appreciate them. Make sure they know why you are appreciating them. eg., "You did very well to find those crayons by searching under your toys".
- Positive talk - When your child talks negatively, turn it around to the positive. eg., When they say "Why is my sandwich smaller than yours?", you can say "I made it smaller so it is easier for you to hold andeat. Once you are done with it, if you are hungry, I will make you another one".
- Stories and movies - Stories and movies about people or characters that overcome adversity to succeed hold good lessons for children. For example, Charlotte's Web is a great movie about optimism and depicts how persistent effort overcomes adversity.
- Talk through failure - When children fail, don't blame them. Talk to them about it and tell them that it happens sometimes. Tell them to think about how to get better the next time and not worry about this.
- Be a good role model - Children learn from us. When you give them feedback, phrase it positively instead of negatively. Say "I think you can you put in a little more effort in to that" instead of "Don't be lazy".
Irrespective of age, these tips will work. With older children, you may be able to talk more directly about optimism. It is important that you keep trying because even if they are older, they can still be coached towards optimism.
All of this sounds like optimism is a great thing to teach children. It usually is but as always, an excess of optimism is not good either as it may result in the inability to recognize high risk situations. So use a balanced approach while following these tips. You will give them a fantastic gift that will help them always.