How to Raise Optimistic Kids: The Power of Positive Thinking for Children

As parents, we want to raise optimistic kids who view the world with the glass half full. Not only does it make them more enjoyable to be around, but kids with a positive outlook generally perform better overall, particularly academically. This style of optimistic thinking doesn’t protect kids from getting angry (that’s normal), rather it focuses on helping your kids to see the good in even perceived negative situations, thinking about the future and how they can better themselves in the long run.

Some practical tips to raising optimistic kids, from positive language to ditching negative self-talk. Children with a positive outlook perform better academically and athletically.

Simple Tips to Raise Optimistic Kids

Through language.

Use positive language. The way we speak to our kids, and the kind of praise we use, really sets them up for the way they will  perceive a situation. For example, after losing a baseball game say “you worked really hard in that game, I can’t wait to see you try again next week!”. This takes a negative occurrence and highlights the positive, giving hope for the future. Focusing on what goes right rather than what went wrong goes a long way. 

Avoid common negative quips like “we are always running late” or “you never pay attention to me”. Instead, simply take a deep breath and keep it in.

Talk about the bad. It’s ok to talk about the bad stuff that happens, this gives us an opportunity to recognize it, and then also see that it isn’t all that happened. Often there is some ‘good’ to find, and discussing this helps us put it all into perspective. When my kids come home from school, I ask them to tell me one bad thing and one good thing that happened. Sometimes there is no bad, other days, they have something to say. We talk about it and process it, and then focus on the positive. 

Reframe negative thoughts. When I was in college I heard Dr. Amen speak regarding negative thoughts. This has always stuck with me and is something I work hard at with my kids. It is so natural for us to engage in negative self-talk (most days as a mom I go through this myself). There are three steps to stopping this kind of self-talk, identifying it, processing it and then talking back!

If you hear your child say “I’m not good at that”, help him/her rephrase that negative talk. Discuss why your child feels that way, and talk about how you can think about it differently.

With actions.

Give kids the opportunity to prove their worth. Let your kids feel like they are important contributors to the family dynamic. Believe it or not, kids actually enjoy doing chores. Allow them to help and set them up for success by giving them age appropriate responsibilities. You can monitor this with the use of checklists as reinforcement as well.




Take risks. Allowing your kids to take risks like climbing a low tree or going up the slide helps them see that things usually turn out ok in the end. (Granted, there are times that things happen, but more often than not, things really are alright). Kids who engage in ‘good risk‘ identify the risk, are aware of potential dangers, and think and evaluate their actions. Allowing our kids to work through this process encourages them to think and act independently and creatively, and they become really good at predicting these outcomes. 

If you have a cautious child who is risk-averse, you can help them work through this with you. Together, you can determine that worries and fears or anxieties about not bring ‘good enough’ should not keep you from trying something new. After a while, they will be able to accomplish this through process on their own. Find your balance between hovering and giving space, trusting your kids that they can make good decisions on their own. 

Some practical tips to raising optimistic kids, from positive language to ditching negative self-talk. Children with a positive outlook perform better academically and athletically.

Give Your Kids a Positive Outlook

In paying attention to the kind of positive language that you use with your own kids, along with substantial praise beyond “good job” you raise optimistic kids. Have conversations about negative occurrences and focus on what that means for the future. Your kids will learn to think about what happens in their lives as potential for positives in the future, and will benefit greatly from this kind of positive outlook on life.

Photo Credit: Freedom, girl in sunny park
  • July 29, 2014
    Setting Up a Calm Down Corner for Kids: A Time-Out Alternative
    Read More
  • January 23, 2016
    3 Ways Parenting a Spirited Child Can Bring You Joy
    Read More
  • February 15, 2016
    5 Steps to Reconnecting with Your Kids After Yelling
    Read More
  • April 10, 2016
    How to Help an Angry Child Calm Down
    Read More
  • May 18, 2016
    Best Resources for the Angry Child (and their Parents too!)
    Read More
  • July 7, 2016
    Saying "Calm Down" To Your Kids Doesn't Actually Work
    Read More
  • Do you have a spirited child? We all have big dreams for our kids, here are some hopes I have for mine, it includes the patience for those who don't always understand him.
    July 14, 2016
    20 Hopes for My Spirited Child 
    Read More
  • August 28, 2016
    Teaching Accountability to Kids
    Read More
  • August 31, 2016
    Books About Accountability and Responsibility
    Read More
  • These pieces of parenting advice you won't hear every day will help you to see that you are doing the best that you can. That you are tired. And you doubt yourself. But you do the best you can, which IS the best for your own kids.
    October 14, 2016
    Parenting Advice You Won't Hear Every Day
    Read More
  • October 21, 2016
    10 Health-Conscious Brands Moms Want to Know About
    Read More
  • October 24, 2016
    Working Together: Active Parenting in Foster Families and Stepfamilies
    Read More
  • November 3, 2016
    Must-Haves for Traveling with Toddlers PLUS a Giveaway!
    Read More
  • November 5, 2016
    Raising Charitable Kids Who Give to Others
    Read More
  • November 10, 2016
    Books for Teaching Kids to Give Back and Help Others
    Read More
  • November 30, 2016
    How to Gently Handle Aggression in Young Children
    Read More
  • December 10, 2016
    How to Avoid Overstimulation in Kids During the Holidays
    Read More
  • You CAN improve your child's behavior with this one simple trick, and it's not as tricky as you might think.
    December 16, 2016
    How to Listen to Your Child: This one thing affects behavior
    Read More
  • Here are 12 must-read parenting articles that went totally viral on Pinterest, many with over 100,000 and 200,000 re-pins.
    December 30, 2016
    12 Must-Read Parenting Articles with Social Proof
    Read More
  • January 2, 2017
    Best Cold Weather Kids Gear for Outdoor Play
    Read More
  • January 11, 2017
    Do This One Thing to Stop Whining in Kids
    Read More
  • February 5, 2017
    5 Ways to Teach Your Kids Compassion for Animals
    Read More
  • February 6, 2017
    How to Gently Handle Your Kids Fighting
    Read More
  • February 16, 2017
    Raising (and embracing) a Strong Willed Daughter
    Read More
  • February 23, 2017
    Implement Gentle Parenting with These 2 Basic Principles
    Read More
  • February 28, 2017
    A Letter To My Wife's Online Mommy Friends
    Read More
  • March 2, 2017
    15 Kids Bath Toys PLUS Tips for Making Bath Time Fun!
    Read More
  • March 9, 2017
    6 Essential Oil Blends for Peace and Calm
    Read More
  • March 22, 2017
    How to Deal with an Angry Kid in a Gentle Way
    Read More
  • March 29, 2017
    Tips for Surviving the Week with a Husband who Travels for Work
    Read More
  • April 3, 2017
    8 Ways Kids Can Calm Down Anywhere PLUS a Printable Mini Book
    Read More
  • April 12, 2017
    Does your child ignore you? These three tricks help children listen.
    Read More
  • April 27, 2017
    How to Raise Optimistic Kids: The Power of Positive Thinking for Children
    Read More
  • May 11, 2017
    Books about Optimism for Kids
    Read More
  • June 1, 2017
    Validate the feelings and emotions of your child, even if you don't agree
    Read More
  • creative play in preschoolers
    July 6, 2017
    Five Ways to Encourage Creative Play in Your Preschooler
    Read More
  • August 3, 2017
    This 5-Minute Mom Hack Will Makeover Your Kid's Morning Routine
    Read More
  • August 11, 2017
    There's No Such Thing as a Fake Cry
    Read More
  • August 31, 2017
    Printable Back to School Affirmation Lunchbox Notes
    Read More
  • September 7, 2017
    10 Reasons You Need a Bottle of Vetiver Essential Oil
    Read More
  • September 14, 2017
    Free Calm Down Printables to Add to Your Calming Corner
    Read More

Join the newsletter

Join the list!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *