I have finally got to writing (and finishing) my blog on positivity. The video that I posted on Breakaway Education’s page a few weeks ago on how to create positivity for our kids goes hand in hand with this blog.
It is becoming more and more important that we work on positivity with our children. Working in and owning a tutoring centre, I see students come in every single week that struggle with self confidence, and in turn, positivity. When students are constantly bombarded with struggles, and they feel like they are never moving forward, it is super easy to see why they would lose their positivity.
I feel with the ongoing bombardment that we get on social media and the television of all these wonderful people who don’t seem to struggle, that positivity is something that WE ALL need to work on, not just our kids!
To encourage our kids to continually try their hardest, we need to look for ways to encourage them. Every day. Not just a few days a week. It needs to be a routine that they do. Mainly because when we feel good, we can achieve great things!
One thing that I have found is really helpful, which I mentioned in my video is the wonderful Big Life Journal. You can find it here…. https://biglifejournal.com. Best of all, you can get it in a lovely coloured hard copy, or, an e-book and print the pages yourself (it is 240 odd pages though!!). This is such an amazing journal. It works well on so many levels. It has reading, comprehension and writing. Most of all, it focuses on creating positive thoughts and thinking in children. There is even a Teen edition due for release later this year, with talk of an additional one for adults! By getting students to focus on all the other wonderful things in the world around us, it gets them out of their own heads and into the world to make a difference! It is definitely one to check out.
Another thing that I have started with a few students is creating Positivity Cards with them. This idea is so powerful!! If we tell ourselves positive things every day, we will start to believe them, right?! My cards are lovely and colourful (cut up coloured paper), but you could just do them on white paper! Cut them up and get your kids to write positive things to themselves. “I am awesome at this!” and “I need to just take one step at a time!” are great starts! The whole idea is that once they have written cards out (they could even write a card in the morning, until they have a full set!) they would pull a card out a week and blue tac it somewhere they often look. If they say it to themselves every day, they will start to believe it!
This idea goes hand in hand with that of the Growth Mindset that I also mentioned in the video. This is the idea that we all have a fixed or a growth mindset. Those that have a fixed mindset are often unable to motivate themselves to move forward. They might say things such as “it’s good enough”, “I can’t do this”, or “this is too hard.” Of course, there are lots of times in our lives where WE ALL say these things, but the fixed mindset is this negative talking to ourselves constantly. Kids can’t learn when they are constantly putting up walls, rather than finding ways to climb over them! The growth mindset is “well I can do a bit better”, “I can do this, I may just have to try it another way”, or “this may be difficult, but it isn’t impossible and it may just take me a little time to understand this!” The more that we practice positive thinking, the more natural it becomes to us! Likewise, if we are thinking negative thoughts constantly, then those negative thoughts turn into something like poison, and we then struggle to move forward from that! To help turn this mindset around for our children, we need to lead the way! If we are thinking negative thoughts, we need to change them into positive thoughts and tell our children these things! If they can hear you saying “Stop being so negative” and you are being negative to yourself, nothing is going to happen!
How many times have you told your child not to hand in an assessment or complete homework when they find it too hard? Isn’t that just encouraging your child to give up when they find something difficult?!? A lot of our actions are well intentioned, and I am definitely not suggesting that we enhance the anxiety in our children by making them do something they find difficult. We do, however, need to build the skills to help them complete a variety tasks that are required of them. It may be by modifying something so that your child can complete the task, or it could be as simple as breaking the task into mini tasks that they work on progressively.
Once you figure out why something is particularly difficult for your child, you have to WORK WITH THEM at it! If you just let them give up and not at least try to complete a task, we foster negativity, rather than positivity. This filters into everything, from work at school and the refusal to complete set tasks at school, to negativity towards being asked to do anything. We need to build up our children to assist them in coping with far more serious issues that may cause significant challenge for them.
The point is, we need to ensure we model the behaviour we expect of our children, to our children, to help them move forward! Child are (as research has demonstrated), a direct product of our environment. We need to ensure we create a home environment that is enriched with positivity to assist them to move away from the toxic ability that negativity has to pull us down.
Another way to help create positivity in our children is to limit their connectivity. When we are stating at computers and video games, and social media all the time, we can create negativity in ourselves. To combat this, put a time limit on these things. The best thing we can do is encourage our children to head outside and get a good dose of Vitamin D, which coincidentally can help to alleviate high levels of negative thoughts and even depression. While they are outside, why not throw in some exercise to get those endorphins pumping!! This can turn anything into something more enjoyable, and hence create positivity!
More approaches that some may think are “left field”, but I think are equally effective and enjoy a few of these myself include: Meditation and calming breathing practice. Allowing our children to stop and just be within themselves can help them find positivity around them as well! You could even experiment with aromatherapy as well! There is a multitude of research that demonstrates the benefits of each of these things in helping to focus on positivity at home and at school.
There are so many more fantastic ideas out there for creating positivity in our children! I will write a follow up post in the future as I uncover more of these! As with anything, some of the ideas you come across might work…..and some may not! Many of the above ideas will take time! There is no magic wand that will turn your child from negative to positive overnight! As with anything, it is something that needs to be practiced consistently to yield any results. You have to try them for yourself and your children to see which ones have the most positive impact on your family!
Positivity is the true creator of any success!
Who is Alysha?
Alysha Griffiths is the owner of Breakaway Education in Bowral. She previously worked in High Schools in English and History. Breakaway Education was opened in the hope to provide families and students with positive outcomes and experiences in education. Often, Alysha saw students lose hope in their abilities and saw children rapidly withdraw from class. Her mission is to reverse this and allow students to gain confidence in their abilities and begin to enjoy learning once again. As a member of the Australian Tutoring Association and the Australian Association of Irlen Consultants, Alysha is determined to offer the Southern Highlands comprehensive and professional tutoring and assistance in other areas of individuals lives that make a difference. Every little bit counts! All success is often due to a range of different “pieces of the puzzle”, which is what is being achieved at Breakaway Education.
2018 has seen Breakaway Education continue to grow. We provide tutors who are all experienced, passionate and qualified teachers. With individual tutoring, individual tutoring structures and passionate teachers, we pride ourselves in creating valuable tutoring and associated educational products for all families. Covering both Primary and High School, we offer assistance to families from all walks of life in a large variety of subject areas.