How to raise an optimist?

11 March, 2019 / Mateusz

A child is cheerful to a large extent thanks to their cheerful and happy parents. Our little ones carefully watch “adult” activities in stressful situations, how we react to failures and remember very well how the dialogues with our partner, friend or complete strangers look like. Even if not all of our behaviors can serve as model ones, don’t worry – optimists can be raised. It’s enough to be perseverant and… smile a lot.

Admire and praise

Parents’ acceptance is the best prize for a child, as thanks to being praised a lot, the child builds their self-esteem. In this way our little ones also learn that being nice and kind not only brings benefits (e.g. a new toy), but this is how appropriate behavior looks like. The admiration of a parent, an adult, is the greatest award for the child and, most importantly, it constitutes much more efficient education method than a chocolate bar or new toy bricks, in particular due to its long-lasting effect. Support your child in their efforts and praise not only when they succeed in doing something. It is very important to appreciate the attempts and intentions, which is a very important life lesson that the final effect is not the only thing that matters, but all activities making it possible to get the knowledge and experience are important to finally reach the goal.

Teach to get away from boredom

When we are tired after a long day at work, and the child is just wandering around saying “I’m bored”, it isn’t easy to motivate ourselves to anything and even harder to be creative. Although we know perfectly well what you feel, you need to think about the future – you don’t want to raise a grumpy person who does not know what to do with themselves and how to occupy their time, do you? In order to avoid mistakes and raise a happy adult, you need to react. Firstly, don’t let your child wander grumpy around the house and complain. If you tend to do so yourself, try and get rid of it or… don’t reveal it, or else in a dozen years you will see the copy of your bad habits reflected in your teenage offspring. Secondly, you can’t tell a young child just to do “something”, as for him or her, this “something” is an abstract and unclear “no-matter-what”. Always suggest concrete activities: organizing a home theatre, dancing, reading a book or playing with hula hoop.

Support the development of the senses

Sensory integration constitutes an extremely important process within your child’s development, regulating the functioning of their nervous system. It consists in particular in the ability to feel, understand and organize the information supplied by the senses from the environment to their own body. In short, sensory integration makes it possible to segregate order and put together single stimuli into complete brain functions. When these processes are balanced, body movements easily adapt to the environment, brain easily absorbs information and “proper” behavior appears naturally. For this reason it is worth to take care of this aspect of development of your little one for example by using a sensory duvet (it has a calming and soothing effect on the nervous system through supporting the excretion of serotonin) or through creative activities. You can for example organize a contest for recognizing different smells, tastes or sounds or put different materials or fabrics on the floor, which while stepped on, will bring totally different sensations and feelings.

Respect the child and their opinion

When you want to raise an optimist, you need to teach your child that their opinion is as important for your family as the opinion of other members, adults included. Of course, boundaries need to be established together with adopting a sensible approach, so a young child can decide in the matters adapted to their age. Closed questions are a very good solution: will you have your cocoa today in a red or a blue mug? Do you want to go for a walk first and then watch the cartoon, or the opposite? Would you rather wear a bobble hat or earmuffs? In this way the children see how important they are for you and that they have a big influence on what is happening around them. If today, your child is not willing to play with their friends you should respect it, but you can present the positive and negative sides of each solution. “We can stay at home and read your favorite book, but when we go out to meet your friends there is a chance that you will play with new toys or meet somebody new”. Such activities and dialogues also teach very important cause and effect relationships as well as strengthen the “I can, but I don’t have to” attitude.

Good luck!