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Teaching Children Productive Thinking

Sometimes we think our thoughts are just our thoughts with no room for change.  You see as teachers and parents, we sometimes talk too much and we do not listen to what the child is trying to say.  You want to teach children to choose their thoughts in a productive way and not let it be non productive.

Children think non-productive thoughts all the time and they often believe their thoughts.  It can be negative and self defeating and we as teachers and parents need to know how to help children change and manage those non-productive thoughts like a child who is afraid to sleep in their bed at night due to scary thoughts or a child thinks someone is going to break into their house.  A child is sad at times because of this and doesn’t know how to leave that thought behind when they need to.  Remember thoughts hook up to feelings, so if your thoughts are negative and self defeating your feelings will be upset, depressed, sad etc.  Your talents as teachers and parents now become an important gift to offer children.

The best way to teach the child how to think productively is to do it yourself.  If as a teacher or parent makes a mistake or are disappointed by an outcome or want to change something in yourself, you need to take a positive look at it.  If you criticize yourself, or others, then children will learn how to do that as well.  Remember, children live what they learn.  They copy us as parents and as teachers.  We are their early mirrors, models and heroes in life.  If children learn positive thinking from you, they will let you know.  They will tell you that they love you and that you are a good teacher or parent.  Children are very wise and they can spot your true effectiveness.

You are the captain of your mind and you decide what is a worthwhile thought or what is non-productive.   We must teach children how to think positively and they will because of you.  My grand-daughter loves to play soccer.  It took a few years of practicing and playing to see her expand into a fine player.  She was praised from the beginning of her playing time by her parents and her siblings.  She became more productive because of this positiveness instilled in her.  She went forward with her game and she was not hindered in her playing time.  Her efforts were relentless.  Last season, she scored her first ever goal!

We need to show children the need to manage their thinking.   If they don’t, their non-productive thoughts will manage them for them.

One more thought about teaching productive thinking is to teach them how words can affect their mood.  Just because you lose a game does not mean to feel lost or negative by that disappointment. It might have been a disappointment or a tough lose but it was a challenge and experience that was needed at that moment.

There is an art to thinking. You must help children find ways to be positive through your praising and gear them toward success as they mature into life.  They will cope with many failures and mistakes in their lives just like we do.  Teach children that when they choose their own positive thinking they will overcome many obstacles from those non-productive ways.      

You can help children cope with their anxieties by:

  • Encouraging children to ask questions.  Listen to what they say and provide the comfort and assurance of their fears. (Remember, its okay to admit you can’t answer all of their questions.)
  • Talking on their level.  Communicate with children in a way they can understand and not make it too complicated.
  • Being honest.  Tell them exactly what has happened.
  • Finding out what frightens them.  Encourage children to talk about their fears they may have.  It could be bullying that worries the child at school.
  • Focusing on the positive.  Reinforce the fact that most people are kind and caring.
  • Paying attention.  Sometimes, the child plays by themselves or withdraws or drawings tell a story that might raise concerns and questions.  With your concern and honesty, the child will share their story with you and it is a time for them to have questions answered and get that reassurance from you!
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