You may be used to seeing your toddler swing from happy-go-lucky to tantrum-time in seconds; they are still learning how to regulate and understand their emotions. You can support your toddler through this time of self-discovery by opening up conversations about how they’re feeling and how to enjoy more positive thoughts through positive thinking.

Your toddler soaks up your behaviour and it’s important to remember that you are a role model for your little one. You could of course practise positive thinking exercises yourself but they’re also something you can teach your child to do themselves from a young age. Read on for some examples of positive thinking exercises.

‘Today I am grateful for...’

At the end of each day, you could reflect on what you are grateful for. It could be anything from being grateful your wifi didn’t drop out in the middle of a video chat with family, to having food on the table or your baby smiling at you. Even on our worst days, there is often
at least something small to be thankful for – you can do this exercise alone by writing in a diary each evening, or with your partner or loved ones by expressing your gratitude out loud in person or on the phone.

Reflecting on what you are grateful for with your toddler can build a healthy habit from a young age. Gratitude can help teach your child to focus on the positives rather than be distracted by the negatives.

‘What did we learn?’

Being a toddler is a time of trying, stumbling and trying again. Your little one will be making lots of mistakes and enjoying lots of successes as they learn to do new things like climb, feed themselves, get dressed, socialise with others and much more.

When your child makes a mistake, help them focus on it as a learning opportunity. You could ask them where they may have gone wrong or explain how to approach the situation differently next time.

Of course, if your child has done something wrong, it is important to be firm and clear about why their actions were wrong. However, you can then move on to discuss how to approach something better next time and finish by asking your little one what they’ve learned. Reflecting on the lesson and the experience can help your toddler grow when they’ve failed, fallen or gotten in trouble, so they can take something positive from what could be a negative situation.

Positive thinking is a skill for life

Positive thinking can help us take the good with the bad. Encouraging your toddler to find the silver lining or focus on what went right or what they’ve learned can help build their resilience.

It is important to remember that positive thinking isn’t about being happy all of the time. Encourage your toddler to express their emotions and talk to you when they are feeling worried or sad. Acknowledge your little one’s struggles and make sure they feel heard and understood. Many situations have negative and positive parts; try to guide your toddler toward being grateful for the positive and focusing on learning from, improving, or accepting the negative.

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