5 Ways to Encourage Your Child to Think Positively

Highly sensitive children (HSC) analyse situations in detail; they think deeply about things that have happened and the repercussions they can have. It’s a trait that makes HSCs cautious, that triggers  a pause before acting. Sometimes though a child focuses so much on the negatives, or possible negative outcomes, that it becomes unhealthy. Here’s how to help your child think more positively.

5 Ways to Encourage Your Child to Think Positively

Positive Affirmations

A simple written statement hanging on a wall in a child’s bedroom can make a huge difference. I know because it’s something a counsellor created with one of my sons and I saw it have a positive impact.

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5 Ways to Help a Child Turn Their Negative Self-Talk into a Helpful Friend

Negative self-talk is damaging. A critical inner voice that just won’t quit is emotionally and mentally harmful. It’s important not to let our children’s negative self-talk go unchecked. Our inner voice won’t go away. But we can change how it talks to us. Here’s how to tackle a child’s habit of negative self-talk. Better still, here’s how you help them turn that negative self-talk into a helpful friend.

5 Ways to Help a Child Turn Their Negative Self-Talk into a Helpful Friend

What is Negative Self-Talk?

Our self-talk is how we talk to ourselves. It’s our inner narrator who sits with us for the ride as we travel through life.

Negative self-talk is the voice of a judge, a doubter, a critic. It belittles us. Makes us believe we are incapable of reaching our goals.

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How to Turn a Fixed Mindset into a Growth Mindset and Why It Matters

One of the biggest hurdles for my children is mindset. I can’t do it. I don’t know how to do that. It doesn’t work. I give up. It’s such an enormous hurdle that my primary focus at the moment is helping my sons turn a fixed mindset into a growth one.

How to Turn a Fixed Mindset into a Growth Mindset and Why It Matters

Struggling with Hurdles

My 9 year old goes to a weekly pull-out enrichment class for gifted children. He came home one week talking about fixed and growth mindsets, so I began digging. Self-analysis tools in school concluded that my son has a fixed mindset.

He’s a highly sensitive child and he picks things up quickly. He picks most things up so quickly that there is no real learning process taking place. He just gets it.

That’s great, but because it has become such the norm for him he shuts down when he sees something as a hurdle. He believes he’s not able to do something so there’s no point starting. He sees mistakes as failures, and not learning experiences. His elder brother is, incidentally, exactly the same.

He is now going through the process of learning to learn. And we are working on helping him move his fixed mindset to a growth one.

What is a Fixed and Growth Mindset?

Having a fixed mindset is about believing that you have a certain level of intelligence or creativity or certain character traits and that doesn’t change.

A growth mindset is believing that putting in the effort leads to a change in intelligence or ability, for example.

Why Does Mindset Matter?

Why does it matter if a child’s mindset is a fixed one? It matters for a whole heap of reasons.

Self-Confidence

A primary problem for a child with a fixed mindset is a lack of self-confidence. If you consistently believe you don’t have the skills to complete tasks then your self-confidence will eventually erode. You will hide your mistakes. You won’t ask for help. You will feel like you are incapable. And that has a devastating impact.

Challenges and Experiences

A fixed mind will lead a child to avoid new experiences, something that many HSCs already struggle with. They will shy away from challenges, further eroding their self image and confidence.

To keep growing and developing we all need to try things outside our comfort zone, beyond our obvious capabilities. For that we need to believe that putting in the effort can  yield results – and that requires a growth mindset.

Feeling of Failure

A child with a fixed mindset will see a failure as a devastating result, which only goes to prove they are incapable of completing the task in hand. A child with a growth mindset will bounce back from a failure more quickly, with the attitude that with more effort or a different approach they can turn a failure into a success.

Help a Child Turn a Fixed Mindset into a Growth Mindset

  • A brain can grow. That’s important for a child to understand.
  • When we practice something we get better at it. Use examples like riding a bike, swimming, football, writing. The more we do something, the better we get – and that applies to everything we do! (There’s a great BBC clip here for older children about our brain during the learning process.)
  • Changing a fixed mindset means focusing on the effort put into a task, and not on the result.
  • Focus on how a child has solved a problem.
  • Use specific praise that puts the spotlight on the enormous effort a child mustered to attempt to jump a hurdle, even if they didn’t quite clear the hurdle. Praising the effort will motivate a child to try again next time.
  • Look at lessons when things don’t go to plan – how can a child do it differently next time? What have they learned? Everything we do is a learning experience, even if we don’t achieve the result we wanted.
  • Use the word yet a lot. I can’t do that yet.
  • Show them that failures are okay, and that we learn from failures. Give your child permission to fail.
  • Help them see their learning as a journey. The path isn’t always straight and obstacle free, but that’s part of the fun of getting to where we want.

Resources

Books

Mindset: Changing The Way You think To Fulfil Your Potential

Mindset written by mindset guru Carol Dweck.

Amazon UK

Amazon US

bol.com

(For Dutch version click here)

 

 

You Are Awesome bookYou Are Awesome: Find Your Confidence and Dare to be Brilliant at (Almost) Anything

This is a fun book for children, written by bestselling mindset author Matthew Syed.

Amazon UK

Amazon US

bol.com

 

The You Are Awesome Journal: Dare to find your confidence (and maybe even change the world)

The You Are Awesome Journal: Dare to find your confidence (and maybe even change the world) is an accompanying journal for the above book.

Amazon UK

Amazon US

bol.com

Big Life Journal Resources

Growth_Mindset_KitGrowth Mindset Printables Kit

Growth Mindset Activity Kit (ages 4-10)

Challenges Kit (ages 5-12) including 5 Day Growth Mindset Challenge: (This is the kit I am currently using with my two eldest sons.)

 

 

 

For your convenience, this post includes affiliate links to products and books I find useful for the HSK community.  They cost you nothing more to buy, but I get a small commission.

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How Family Meetings Help Children With Their Worries

We recently introduced a weekly family meeting. It’s a chance for the five of us to sit together undisturbed and talk about the week we have just had, and about the week coming up. Within just a few weeks, we have had some surprising results.

How Family Meetings Help Children With Their Worries

Purpose of a Family Meeting

The idea of a family meeting came from Big Life Journal. (If you’re not familiar with Big Life Journal then I can highly recommend taking a peek for resources for your highly sensitive child (and every other child for that matter!)).

Whilst we all strive for family connection, our daily routines can soon hijack our good intentions.

I have three children, all highly sensitive. Often, life gets it the way. We need to plan around school, football trainings, archery, dentist appointments, play dates, tiredness and overwhelm. You name it. And so a family meeting is a guaranteed moment each week when the five of us come together and talk.

Plan an Agenda

What do we talk about? Well, Big Life Journal has a free printable with lots of tips and an agenda so we’ve been using that. Some weeks we skip a section, some weeks we add our own items.

In general, we talk about what went well the previous week. We talk about our highs and lows. We talk about what was fun, and what was challenging.

Then we look to the week ahead. We discuss what we have planned for the week. Each member of the family says what they are looking forward to, what is bothering them about the coming week, what they need support with, and what goal they’d like to achieve.

Naming the Source of a Worry

A surprising outcome has been listening to my sons naming the source of their worries, or telling us that they need help with outing their emotions in some way. During a family meeting they have been more able to tell us what they are worried about!

Many parents of highly sensitive children have to deal with their fair share of meltdowns after school or a busy day. In the heat of the moment it’s easy to forget that your child hates feeling unable to out their emotions in a way that feels non-threatening. Anger is scary.

During one of our family meetings, one of my sons specifically asked us to help him with his anger when his bucket gets full. It’s concrete. It’s specific. And it’s something we can work on with him.

In the same week, another son told us just how anxious he was about a presentation he had to give in school that week. He explained that he felt blocked, and he needed our help to get over this hurdle.

In short, family meetings have given my sons the platform and space to really think about the obstacles they are facing in the coming week and ask for help. There is a complete focus on how they are feeling, and that helps them give their feelings a name.

It also gives them the opportunity to name and celebrate their successes.

Family Meeting Tips

  • Keep it short.
  • Don’t force participation.
  • To avoid everyone talking at the same time have an item on hand that the speaker holds. We use a pen, but the ‘talking feather‘ is a powerful tool. Only the person holding the item may talk!
  • Change the roles around and ask the kids what they’d like to do during the meeting – write notes, chair the meeting etc.
  • Make it fun by preparing a few snacks and drinks.
  • Don’t reinvent the wheel, download the free Big Life Journal printable to help with planning.

Over to You

I would love to hear from you about your own family meetings – share your tips below!

FYI: For your convenience, this post may include affiliate links to products and books I find useful.  It costs you nothing more to buy, but I may get a small commission.

 

 

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The Top 10 Happy Sensitive Kids Community Reads

The Happy Sensitive Kids community is more than 3000 strong, and is a wise, experienced group when it comes to raising highly sensitive children. The book list below is the top ten bestselling books bought by the Happy Sensitive Kids community through the course of last year. There’s no better recommendation than the reading list of others facing the same parenting challenges and joys.

The Top 10 Happy Sensitive Kids Community Reads

#10 All Too Much for Oliver

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Why Highly Sensitive Children Struggle with Summer Break & How to Help Them

The end of the school year draws close, or is already upon some of you. There’s a collective sigh of relief as school is put on hold for a few months. No alarm clocks and morning struggles for a while.  Empty days and summer awaits. And for your highly sensitive child (HSC) that may have a surprisingly negative impact.

Why Highly Sensitive Children Struggle with Summer Break & How to Help Them

Why a HSC Has Difficulty Transitioning From School to Summer Break

Empty days. No obligations. No early mornings. No struggling to get out of the door on time. No days full of classrooms, lessons and busy activities. Heavenly right?

Well yes and no.

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5 Awesome Ways to Use Essential Oils in Your Home

You can use essential oils in a number of ways around your home and in doing so replace the chemical products you currently use with natural homemade products. It’s not just better for us but it’s really easy to embark on your own ‘go natural’ journey! Here are five easy, awesome ways I use essential oils in my home.

5 Awesome Ways to Use Essential Oils in Your Home

1. Fabric Softener

I haven’t bought fabric softener for our laundry for months now. Many people are sensitive to shop bought fabric softeners and the smell of some can be overpowering.

And quite frankly, it’s expensive.

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