• Monique West, LCSW

Practical Steps in Building Positive Psychology in Children


Let’s face it we’re all busy and raising kids can feel like an added burden at some points in life. Starting with these few easy practices every day can start to build positive psychology in your child.

The Research indicates that Building positive psychology within your child can:

  • Reduce depression

  • Improve problem solving abilities

  • Build resilience that helps them navigate difficult transitions and situations in life.

  • Provide healthy coping skills to reduce anxiety and persistent sadness.

  • Bolster self esteem and self confidence.

  • Improve their overall academic, social and emotional functioning.

How full is your bucket?

In therapy I read “How Full is your bucket?” With my kid clients to get them accustomed to the idea that there are things in our everyday lives that drain us and create strain ( emptying out buckets) but as those strain occurs its our job to begin identifying contrasting situations that will elevate and bring us inner happiness (fill our buckets). As a parent challenging your child to find one activity that can fill their bucket can improve their coping skills set drastically. For example challenging your kid to do one random act of kindness a day and checking In at the end of the day about how it felt to be generous can begin harnessing empathy in your child. Also taking the kindness challenge with your child and checking in about the positive feelings gained from that act can build a family bonding experience.

What’s your mantra?

Children may not understand the gold mine available in a mantra but as parents we can begin to teach them that a few good mantras per day can begin to re-frame negative thought processes and provide mental clarity when life’s brutal constraints shows up on their front door. Saying to your child for example ” you aren’t your mistakes” helps them to re-frame their mistakes as learning opportunities and further teaches them that the most awesome people own their failures and fail their way to success! “I rescue myself no one else does” teaches kids that they have a hand in making their lives what they want that in any situation they can negotiate and choose a better outcome without needing someone to “fix” them. Have fun in developing mantras along with your kids and use them willingly and often with your children soon enough your children will begin to use them on their own to get through difficult situations. One client’s mom came up with “you’re perfectly special, you’re delightfully brave, you’re uniquely YOU!” And said this to her child over and over every time her kid had a hard time with completing homework, figuring out a solution to a problem or sleeping in her own bed soon enough the child begun to use this mantra to independently work herself through difficult situations!

Thanksgiving

Teaching your child appreciation and gratitude can seem like a fleeting an intangible concept. Beginning with asking your child to write down five things in a gratitude diary/journal that they are grateful for can begin to put them in touch with building appreciation. At the end of the day or week you and your child can read your gratitude list and discuss. Asking your child to focus on what they are most grateful for on a daily basis reduces the chances of them focusing and honing in on negatives which increases self efficacy and self awareness. An example of gratitude entry for a child could be ” I’m really grateful today for daddy taking the time to play with me although he was tired” or ” I’m grateful that mommy surprised me and came to pick me up today from school today!”

Building positive psychology can begin with very practical steps that gets reinforced on a daily basis! Be creative and have fun with the process!”

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