Resist the urge to ship your pessimistic child off to your mother-in-law's house house so they can commiserate together. Instead, find activities that combat the negative thoughts. Some kids are just more prone to being pessimistic and it takes extra effort to think positively. Whether your child makes self-deprecating remarks, always predicts the worst or gives up without trying, there are some activities that can help your child learn to look on the bright side.
1. Physical Activities
Although most of us like to think we are proficient at multitasking, the truth is, we aren't that good at doing two things at once. Involve kids in physical activity and they won't have time or energy for negative thoughts. When kids are having fun, out of breath and concentrating on the task at hand, negative thoughts disappear. Sign your child up for a sports team or recreational activity. Encourage chores and other indoor physical activities as well to keep him active.
2. Vounteer Work
Volunteering and helping others serves several purposes. First, it keeps kids busy and distracts them from their negative thoughts. Second, helping someone else improves self-esteem. And third, witnessing someone else in an even worse situation can help kids see that maybe things aren't so bad in their life. A kid who usually dwells on not being good enough in soccer will likely stop complaining about his physical coordination if he spends time volunteering with people that have special needs.
3. Hobbies, Clubs and Organizations
Help your child discover his talents. Whether he's a chess whiz or excels at playing the cello, get him involved with a hobby, club or organization where he can shine. Help your child unearth his hidden talents. Try one or two activities at a time and keep trying new ones until your child finds one he is passionate about. When kids become excited and passionate about an activity, they won't have time and energy to think negatively.
Replace negative thoughts with more realistic ones. Challenge your child's negative thoughts by showing him that negative thoughts are often not true. For example, if a child says, "I'll never be as good at soccer as the other kids," respond by saying, "With hard work and practice, you can improve in soccer." Don't try to convince him that he's the best soccer player in the world if it's not true but instead help him find a more balanced view. Redirect him and explain what he IS good at.
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