During hard times and times of trouble, thinking positively might seem impossible. Life is no longer the same for you and your family, and it will likely be different moving forward. Everything has changed, and it’s hard to feel great when there’s uncertainty around us. But during dark times, though it can be difficult to do, it’s essential that you try to find the bright spots.
Your outlook greatly impacts your kids, more than you realize. Modeling positive thinking for your kids and family sets the tone of hope and resilience. Try the strategies below with your family and see how it feels!
Something easy you and your family can do is “positive posting” around your house. This means that you post something visual: a sticky note, drawing, or other visual reminders. Have each family member write or draw something positive on a note. It could be:
Post the notes in places where you’ll see them often, like the bathroom mirror, fridge door, or bedroom door. (Hint: You can post more than one!)
You can even get creative with it, such as using sidewalk chalk to post happy messages to your neighbors, or putting a positive message in your front window for the outside world to see.
You can also use the My Positive Pledge Activity, having each family member fill out their pledge, and post them all in one place for everyone to see. Notice that you all have different ways of staying positive.
Most of us give thanks for the good things, from time to time. But do you do it every day? If you don’t, consider starting an easy “three things I’m thankful for” routine. Ideally, you’d do this at the same time each day. Here’s how it works: think of three things you’re thankful for from that day. They can be little things, big things, or anything you’re thankful for! You can think them, say them out loud, or write them down. A good time to do this is right before bed, when things have calmed down. Here’s an example from my eight-year-old daughter.
When serious things happen, we might feel bad for indulging in some laughs. But we DO have permission to laugh (even during tough times). We can’t go day in and day out with doom and gloom. Laughter lightens the atmosphere, reduces stress, and opens the door to good thoughts. Have your kids pick a funny show or movie to watch together (check out these top picks for family comedies). Make funny faces at each other. Tickle someone! Put on some silly hats or costumes and do a fashion show in your living room. Have a video chat with that wacky relative (you know who they are)! Give yourselves permission to chuckle, cackle, or howl! Even if just for a bit, keep those positive vibes flowing.
Kelly Mendoza is Senior Director, Education Programs at Common Sense Education where she oversees education programming and content strategy, including the Digital Citizenship Curriculum, interactive games, and online professional development for schools. She has developed research-based curricula in digital citizenship, media literacy, information literacy, and social-emotional learning (SEL). She develops programs that help students and schools create a positive culture around learning and technology. She has also developed educational resources and curriculum for Lucas Learning, the Media Education Lab, and PBS Frontline. Kelly has a PhD in Media & Communication from Temple University. Follow her on Twitter: @kellymendoza