A child who has plenty of enjoyable and positive experiences while growing up is more likely to be an optimistic adult. Parents and carers influence the behaviours and attitudes a child will develop.

Here are some tips to help you raise an optimistic child.

  1. Show your child you love them. Make time for them every day and use words and cuddles to show you care.

  2. Be a positive role model. Your child will mimic your behaviours so make sure you show them constructive ways of dealing with life’s challenges and misfortunes.

  3. Allow your child to experience success. For example, give them age-appropriate tasks around the house and praise them for their efforts.

  4. Teach practical skills with patience and humour. Help your child to keep up with peers – for example, tying shoelaces, using cutlery and managing the toilet.

  5. Let your child play self-directed games. Give them regular time to play without parental direction. This will help them build confidence in their own decisions and abilities.

  6. Shelter children from stress. Whenever possible, try not to expose them to the harsh realities of the adult world, such as financial worry, until they are old enough to cope with the concepts.

  7. Don’t use food for comfort. Leave fatty treats and lollies in the pantry. Find other ways to calm your child down when they are upset.

  8. Listen to their problems. Take concerns seriously and be supportive as they learn how to cope with life’s hurts and disappointments.

  9. Point out the ‘silver lining’ in every cloud. Get your child into the habit of looking for the positives, even times where it may only seem like the chance to learn from a mistake.

  10. Make happy events a regular part of your family life.

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This page has been produced in consultation with and approved by: Better Health Channel

Last updated: September 2012

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