Teaching optimism to kids can be made easier with a game I made up called, “Turn Around.” The game has them literally turn around and then turn around their attitude. Even though optimism week has really just begun, I have been playing this game with my kids for a few days to see if it would really work. I doubted it because I wondered if, while they were being grumpy, something as simple as turning in a circle could actually change their attitude. It is actually working, and I plan to continue playing this game throughout the week and probably beyond too. I guess I should have been more optimistic about the game. Negative comments and attitudes, in our house, often come when my kids are either tired or just woke up on the wrong side of the bed. My oldest daughter, especially, is one that experiences emotions to the fullest. When life is great, which (fortunately) she generally feels that it is, than the whole world is rainbows. However, when things head south, they really head south. I thought that her bad mood (when she’s in that zone) would prevent her from playing along with this game, but it seems to be impacting life for the better around here. Have I made the game clear yet? I’m not sure I have. Basically, your child might say something negative or have a pouty attitude about something. At that point, you say, “Turn around.” They get to take one twirl. As you can see from the above picture, if it is a girl twirling, arms come out and they are momentarily transformed into princess status. When their circle is over, they get to have a smile on their face and turn their comment around as well. It’s amazing how just the twirl changes the frown into a smile. I have found that I have had to model some examples of how to be more optimistic in situations. I will give you some examples too. Perhaps your child says, “I didn’t want that book for bed.” An improvement would be, “I’m glad we get a book before bed tonight. Maybe tomorrow night I can choose my favorite.” Here’s another idea. Maybe your child says, “I’m freezing, and I have sand all over my body.” An improvement would be, “I’m so glad I was able to play at the beach today. I will be excited to have a warm shower to get clean.” There are so many ways to change around the gloom and look on the bright side of life. As your child is complaining about leaving the park too soon, remind them what Dr. Seuss once said, “Don’t cry because it is over. Smile because it happened.”
“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” – Romans 8:28
I love this idea even more now that I’ve seen it in action!
Thanks, my friend!
Great idea! It’s amazing how the smallest things can help turn our attitudes around. We play a game called “Three happy things” when we feel grumpy. Basically, we all list three things we are thankful for and make us happy. Usually by the end of it, we actually feel happier! It’s our little way of practicing thankfulness. Now I’m going to incorporate the turn around game, as well. My kids won’t know what hit ’em with all this thankfulness and optimism talk. 🙂
You can just tell your son that Abby plays the game, and I’m sure he’d love it too. 😉
woah~ turn a round! That’s a good suggestion! I will have to try this with my very emo son.
I hope it is helpful. I’d love to see if it works with him.
Hi! I love this game! I love that you have combined some movement with the “Turn Around” game. Fantastic idea!! 🙂
I’m so glad it’s helpful to you. Have a lot of fun playing these with your kids.
I’m looking forward to trying this, with my 3 y/o and myself!
I hope it goes really well. Thanks for letting me know.