Practicing positive thinking is a surefire way to destroy the patterns of negative thinking that tear down our self-esteem and general happiness. Negative self-talk has been shown to harm our mental and physical well-being. When we help our kids make a conscious effort to reframe their automatic thinking using various behavioral therapy techniques, we help them embrace a growth mindset. Make room for more positive thinking in your and your children’s life by giving one of these 20 engaging activities a try.
1. Instill A Positive Self-Talk Habit
Instead of being our own biggest cheerleaders, we’re often our own worst critics. Have your child tell themselves that they can do their best when faced with a difficult or new task.
Learn More: MindBodyGreen
2. Improve Self-Awareness
Building a positive mindset often starts with simply taking note of your own negative thinking. Spend the day reminding your learners to actively check in with themselves; noting down the things people say or do that make them feel an emotion.
Learn More: Psych Central
3. Exposure Therapy
It’s part of the human experience to harbor negative thoughts about a particular event, activity, or person. If your older child automatically responds negatively toward constructive feedback, urge them to listen to more feedback.
Learn More: Very Well Mind
4. Smile More
A whole pharmacy of good chemicals is released when we smile; meaning that your kiddos can instantly access that dopamine high at any time! Simply have your child stand in front of a mirror and smile.
Learn More: Tiny Buddha
5. Replace Negative Thinking With Positive Thinking
Create a worksheet for yourself or your kids – or simply divide a page in your journal in two. On the left, they can note down all of the negative thoughts they have about themselves. In the right-hand column, get them to reframe and rephrase the thought to be positive.
Learn More: Kiddie Matters
6. Help Others
Another way that you can defeat negative thinking directed toward yourself, your worth, and the value you add to those around you are to get your hands dirty by volunteering. Helping people in your community who are in need will help you feel better about yourself.
Learn More: Coffee and Carpool
7. Gratitude Game
This activity will help kids of all ages practice gratitude. Cognitive behavior therapy helps us think of what we are grateful for. Play a game of pick-up sticks where different colored sticks prompt the player to express what they are grateful for such as people, places, opportunities, or food.
Learn More: Teach Beside Me
8. Positive Quote Collage
Head on over to the free version of Canva and have your kids put together a digital collage of the most inspiring quotes you can find on the internet. Negative thinking patterns can be combatted when we remind ourselves of our core beliefs.
Learn More: Canva
9. Surround Yourself With Caring, Uplifting People
Your child is the average of the people they spend the most time with. Make sure to surround them with inspiring, encouraging people who shower them with positive feedback. You can unlock a new level of positive thinking in your child when they feel loved.
Learn More: Playful Notes
10. Throw Away Negative Thoughts
Another way to dispel unhelpful thinking styles is to use the practice of journaling- with a twist. Tell your child to think of a recent negative event and have them get all of their feelings about it down on paper. Next, they can tear out the page, rip it up, and throw it away to release difficult feelings.
Learn More: Little Coffee Fox
11. Bring A Little Color Into Life
Sometimes, breaking a cycle of anxiety, depression, or general negativity can be helped by relaxing. Try printing and coloring in a worksheet in order to help you or your kids destress and recharge.
Learn More: Chronic Illness Warrior Life
12. Positive Affirmation Cards
Nothing will boost your child’s confidence and positive thinking like affirming them. Consider purchasing or making some cute affirmation cards to go through with your kids on a daily basis.
Learn More: Very Special Tales
Spending time being still, silent and alone will help your child think about and process their day. Encourage them to spend some time breathing and ruminating on their emotions.
Learn More: Merakilane
14. Rubber Band Activity
Helping your child notice when they’re having negative thoughts is the first step to them being able to manage these thoughts. Have them wear a colorful rubber band around their wrist. Anytime they’re feeling a strong negative feeling, they can gently snap the band. This will help bring them into the present and let go of negative thought patterns.
Learn More: The Emotion Machine
15. Focus On The Good
Teach your child to drown out their inner critic by helping them practice positive self-talk; telling themselves what they like about their personalities and their lives, and highlighting their strengths.
Learn More: Light and Salt
16. Teach Your Child To Look At Things With Humor
The next time your child approaches you or a situation with feelings of anxiety, have them pause and dress up in a funny outfit. They can dress up as a bunny, a wizard, or a superhero. Revisit the topic and talk through all the emotions. The silly getups will break the ice and help your child smile.
Learn More: Big Life Journal
17. Bubble Wrap Activity
If your child’s negative thoughts are leaning more toward the angry or frustrated side of the emotional spectrum, help them embrace the feeling. This can be done by getting out bubble wrap and having them pop the bubbles.
Learn More: Coping Skills for Kids
18. The Worry Jar
Sometimes, helping your child identify everything that has them worried can help them move past their fears and anxieties. Have them write all of their fears onto a printed picture of a jar.
Learn More: And Next Comes L
19. Anxiety Escape Room
If your child is particularly prone to anxiety and other negative thoughts, create a special corner or room for them where they can go when they feel overwhelmed. Decorate it with calming and affirming quotes, soft blankets, and soothing pillows.
Learn More: Mom Junction
20. Set A Good Example
Consider joining a counseling plan or therapy group to help your little ones work through any challenges they may be going through.
Learn More: Parents