10 Ways to Help Kids Think Positive

Originally Posted at: http://www.powerofpositivity.com/10-ways-to-help-kids-think-positive/

Helping kids understand the effect of their thoughts, words, actions (and reactions) is essential in building a foundation for their future wellness. When kids learn how to think positive from a young age, they will have a much greater chance of leading happy, healthy, and successful lives as adults.

There are many effective ways to help guide children down a great path in life, but it’s up to us, the adults in their lives to get them started in the best direction possible.

Here are 10 ways to help your kids think positive:

 

1. Be a great role model.

“Children are like wet cement. Whatever falls on them makes an impression.” – Haim Ginott

If you want children to think positive, it’s important to be an exemplary role model. When you have a child, being conscious of your thoughts becomes a clear goal as you see them begin to mimic your moods, speech, and actions toward others.
Find a positive perspective in your experiences, and explain why the choice you made is important. Adults know that the world isn’t all sunshine and rainbows, but children can forget this awareness at their age. Be someone they can learn from through both success and failure.

2. Help them feel comfortable with their emotions.

The aged assumption that “boys should not cry, and girls should always be dainty” can hinder a child’s creativity and ability to tap into their wellspring of love for themselves and others. Fostering emotional well-being among children has actually been shown to avoid “mental illness” later in life, along with many other health and social benefits.

Teach your child how to laugh, cry, and express their joy, and that it’s ok to do so. Let them live in an environment where they feel safe enough to communicate what they’re feeling, and what they want in life.

3. Teach them the law of attraction.

The law of attraction simply states that you will eventually receive the opportunity, in some form, to achieve that which is in alignment with your most dominant thoughts. If children understand this concept, they can learn to focus on achieving everything from potty training to becoming President.   Teach your children to think well of themselves, as they are now. Teach them to be kind and compassionate toward others. This simple 3 step process to the law of attraction will help you explain it to them simply.

Also, have your child repeat positive affirmations in the mirror with you every day. Phrases like “I am creative, I am strong, I am a good friend, and I make a difference in the world” plants the seeds of positivity in their hearts, and impacts their lives in a tremendous way.

Nothing can stop your child from achieving greatness when they make positive thinking their habit. Watch young Jessica as she expresses her inner confidence in this Youtube video:

4. Be a motivator and encourager.

Help your child believe that they can be their best. Encourage them to follow their dreams and to believe that they can achieve great things in life.

Even if your child fails at something, motivate them to pick themselves up and carry on – teach them that in every outcome, there is always a silver lining. If your child was expecting to win first place at the science fair but didn’t, acknowledge their feelings. Talk about the cool projects, and how they can be inspired for their next project. Sometimes, the best thing you can do is say that you tried your best, look forward, and that another opportunity will be on the way.

5. Teach them how to focus on solutions.

Followers talk about problems. Leaders talk about solutions.

Problem solving is a critical skill kids need to gain confidence, continue thinking positive, and excel in life. Help them learn about the problem and what created it, then how to move past it and focus on a solution.

Moving into the “solution zone” as quickly as possible will encourage them to always think positive, and be confident that answers are always out there.

6. Allow them the freedom to do what they love.

To flourish in their own unique way, children need some freedom to do what they love. Guide children to safely find their purpose and passion. Create a learning environment from what excites them in life. Everything has a lesson, and it’s up to us to provide that lesson in the most engaging way to maximize a child’s learning.

7. Surround them with positive people.

Surround children with a positive, uplifting environment. Explain to them that they are a product of the people they spend the most time with, and to try to associate with other people who also think positive. From this fertile positive environment, they can move forward in helping others think positive as well.

8. Encourage strong morals and values.

Children can grow up to be strong, positive leaders if cornerstone positive morals and values are built from a young age. Knowing what’s “right and wrong” when interacting with friends, holding them accountable for their mistakes, and teaching them to follow through with commitments are all core principles of practicing positivity.

To help them understand easily, talk about your own life experiences such as returning someone’s wallet or intentionally making friends with the new kid at school to welcome them.

9. Ask them about the positive events of their day.

Instead of just asking how their day went, ask them about the positive things that happened during their day. These specific questions help them focus on their achievements rather than disappointments.

When children stay focused on thinking positive, their positive experiences will only continue to grow.

10. Create a literacy-rich environment.

Support literacy starting from an early age. It takes them to places they can embrace their own powers. A child that often reads is enriched with the power to strategize and solve problems. Give them library cards, provide puzzles, read a variety of books, play bingo, scrabble, and introduce books on the computer.  There are even programs like Reading Kingdom that allows them to play online as they learn to read.

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The Secret To Making Fine Motor Skills Activities For Children Fun

 

 

Fine motor skills activities for children are the best way to ensure proper

development and practice of fine motor skills to promote the most functional use of a child’s hands.

You see, normal development DEMANDS that children are able to accurately and effectively use the small muscles (intrinsic muscles) in their hands. These intrinsic muscles will be used for the rest of their lives and for essential functional activities.

Childhood is the critical time to properly develop these muscles, and I think you might be shocked (unless you are an OT) at how many children we, as Occupational Therapists, see in the schools and clinics every single day who have significant delays in fine motor skills. I must add it is nobody’s “fault”… it just is. These are skills that simply may need some extra work to develop optimally, that’s all. So, please… no blaming the child or the parents. Deal? Thanks!

The building of fine motor skills in children will enable them to perform a variety of important functional tasks. These include:

  • tying shoes
  • zipping and unzipping
  • buckling and unbuckling
  • writing legibly and without significant muscle fatigue
  • playing games that require precise hand and finger control
  • drawing, painting, and coloring
  • manipulating buttons and snaps
  • putting small objects together
  • doing puzzles
  • making crafts
  • using scissors
  • manipulating small objects such as coins
  • opening and closing objects
  • picking up and holding onto small objects
  • developing and maintaining an effective and proper pencil grip
  • pinching objects between fingers
  • using locks and keys
  • being able to isolate finger movements (i.e., using one finger at a time, such as in playing the piano or typing)
  • turning things over or turning pages of a book
  • holding and using utensils properly and effectively
  • screwing and unscrewing
  • doing ANYTHING that requires small precise hand and finger movements

    Certainly you can now see the importance of fine motor skills and the impact it would have if not developed properly! If your child is struggling to do any of these aforementioned activities and you are concerned that they may have poor fine motor skills, then it is time to practice, enhance, and evaluate these skills.

    I just want to mention, there is a very high correlation between children with sensory processing disorders and children with a delay in fine motor skills. It is often a big part of sensory integration therapy and one of the main reasons children are initially referred to an Occupational Therapist. Please understand, I am NOT saying they HAVE a sensory processing disorder if they have poor fine motor skills… fine motor delays may be an isolated issue.

  • Properly Developed Fine Motor Skills Are Important To Every Day Living

  • The ability to complete functional activities that require these skills will follow you your entire life. So, I beg of you… if you see signs of fine motor difficulties in any child, please address it with a teacher, Occupational Therapist, or through educating yourself (as you are now… yay you!) on how to improve fine motor skills.

  • Speaking of improving fine motor skills, here is what you have been waiting for… how do we do it? Truthfully, you will see the greatest improvement through targeted activities that are practiced, practiced, and practiced some more! True, that is the “therapy” of it… but, I always believe in making that targeted practice fun and varied! It really NEEDS to be for the development of the various muscles, and so the child doesn’t get bored, frustrated, or resistant to engaging in these therapeutic, skill building activities.

     Activities To Improve Fine Motor Skills

    The best way to do this with children is… Toys and Games, of course! Below, you will find some great games and toys that are both fun, challenging, and great for developing those critical fine motor skills.

    But, before I show you those, I must share my all-time favorite activity for hand strengthening and fine motor skill development. It’s easy to do anytime/anywhere, it’s fun, it works on a variety of hand skills, and THE KIDS LOVE IT! It is… Theraputty! Ah, for those of you who don’t know, Theraputty is a strong silly-putty-like material that probably every Occupational Therapist uses. It comes in a tub and has different “strengths” to it (more or less resistance when squeezed). It is one of the best inventions ever!

    Okay, here is my favorite activity (if you are an OT, don’t give it away, shhhh)… Stretch the Theraputty out and hide coins or any tiny objects in it. Then mush it up into a ball. It is now the child’s job to pull the putty apart and find all the objects you put in there (oh, make sure you count how many you put in there, because the child WILL keep asking if they found them all). Just a hint… children can even do this whole “game” themselves; hiding the objects AND finding them. Or do it with friends that come over to play. And, if they need extra incentive… you can use all those pennies you have kicking around the house and tell them if they do a good job finding them all 3 times in a row they get to keep them! Bribery…*ahem*, I mean REWARDS, are always a great way to get a child to do his “therapy”.

    Or, here is another idea;  Holly, an OT from a school in New York gave me this great suggestion…

    When using putty I will sometimes put “googley” eyes in it and when you shake the putty you can hear the eyes wiggle, the kids love it and enjoy the silly challenge. 

http://www.sensory-processing-disorder.com/

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10 Ways to Raise a Grateful Kid

By Homa Tavangar

When my favorite uncle first met my daughter, then age three, he enthusiastically hugged her and gave her a toy he’d brought all the way from Uganda. My daughter wouldn’t even hold it, let alone say “Thank you.” I was mortified.

My daughter is now 17, and looking back, I realize that many factors could have contributed to her behavior: being unprepared for such exuberance, her natural shyness and biology. Kids under seven have difficulty understanding others’ feelings and being internally motivated to do the right thing. Nonetheless, parents can actively, gently instill a sense of gratitude.

The matter goes way beyond etiquette. According to research by the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley, “people who practice gratitude feel considerably happier (25%) than those in a control group; they are more joyful, enthusiastic, interested, and determined.”

An attitude of gratitude helps us thrive. Try these steps to instill a mind-set of gratitude in your little ones.

  1. Say “Thank you.” When “thank yous” are instilled in our vocabulary at home, a lifelong practice begins, even if it doesn’t stick at first. You can gently restate a sentence with polite language inserted, or suggest saying “Thank you” together.
  2. Live it. Set an example and show appreciation by conveying you paid attention to real effort: “Your room looks so nice with the toys in their bins. I’m so happy that you remembered to put them away!”
  3. Teach through role play. If your little one is too shy to say “thank you” in a social setting, they can pretend to teach their stuffed animals or dolls to do so, while you play along.
  4. Create daily or weekly routines. A regular question, “What are you most thankful for today?” can serve as a comforting routine at bedtime or a highlight of a weekly dinner ritual.
  5. Give concrete examples. At dinner, you can play the Rose and Thorn game, where the person whose turn it is to speak holds a rose and tells about one rose (a good thing) and one thorn (a challenging thing). A metaphor like the rose helps children develop gratitude even when things aren’t going their way. Keeping the rose in a vase all week serves as another reminder of coping with natural ups and downs. Books like The Giving Tree, Have You Filled a Bucket Today? and Mama Panya’s Pancakes offer simple, powerful metaphors of virtues.
  6. Set expectations when shopping. Melanie Etemad of Bryn Mawr, PA shared a useful approach that her husband, a psychiatrist, came up with when their daughter Elyse was just two: “We’d say today is a ‘look’ day. Just like going to the museum, we enjoy the beautiful things, but we aren’t planning to buy anything. … We also tried to ensure that there were more ‘look’ days than ‘buy’ days, specifically to inoculate against the idea of always buying things, knowing that it breeds discontent. Now, at age six, Elyse knows that most of the time when we go out, we are not necessarily planning to buy anything and has the habit to ask if today is a ‘look’ day or a ‘buy’ day.”
  7. Make giving and volunteering a habit. Set aside toys and clothing in good condition. Deliver the items to a deserving cause together. Talk about the process and why you care. Tap into organizations like Global Giving that offer a virtual marketplace for making a difference.
  8. Create gratitude gift lists. Alongside a holiday or birthday gift wish list, for every item, family members can list something they are grateful for. These are the “priceless” gifts. By generating the list in a beautiful way, you demonstrate how valuable the alternate list is; it can be a keepsake for years to come.
  9. Thank those who serve. Your example of acknowledging those who quietly make a difference in your life, from the bus driver to the person sweeping up the aftermath of a family lunch out, sends a powerful message to your children. Likewise, organizations like Operation Gratitude and Blue Star Families remember those serving in the military. Kathy Roth-Douquet, Founder and Chair of Blue Star Families, says, “In addition to a thank-you letter, we ask the participant to pledge to do some form of community service … thanks and appreciation is best when it involves action, and a sense of all being in a worthwhile effort together.”
  10. Be patient. Kids can’t be cajoled into showing appreciation, but your gentle efforts and examples will instill gratitude as a way of life.

 

 

For original article please visit: http://www.pbs.org/parents/special/article-ten-ways-raise-grateful-kid.html

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The Word Gap

Article taken from http://www.zerotothree.org

The “Word Gap” has come to symbolize the gulf that can separate very young children who have rich opportunities for positive early learning experiences from those who do not. Science reveals that early language and literacy skills are important predictors of later success in school—and that as a group, children in families of lower socioeconomic means have fewer skills and know far fewer words than their more privileged peers.

How does our country close the word gap? Babies are driven to communicate to let the trusted adults in their lives know what they need, think, and feel. Developing language and literacy skills is about more than just hearing and learning words. It is about the social, back-and-forth communication that takes place through everyday interactions with parents, families, and caregivers which builds not only babies’ language skills, but also their thinking skills and their self-esteem. Strong language skills result from babies building close, nurturing relationships with trusted adults, which encourage babies to want to keep connecting and communicating.

The Mom and Dad Project has several classes surrounding foundations of developing early literacy and strong language skills. Please see our calendar or call (909) 878-2326 for more information!

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