We think successful parenting is teaching our children how to read, do algebra, and tie their own shoes, but perhaps the most important life skill parents can teach kids is one that we often forget needs to be actively taught: optimism.

It’s rare to meet a successful person who isn’t an optimist, probably in part because only optimists consider themselves successful. But even if optimism doesn’t lead to unbounded love, fame, and fortune, optimists are still happy wherever they’re at.

Kids are naturally optimistic, usually to the point of gullibility, but life tends to weed optimism out of us as we grow up. By the time we’re adults, only about 50% of Americans identify themselves as optimists.

So how do we encourage that optimism? Here are 3 tips:

  1. Be an optimist. As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “What you do speaks so loudly I cannot hear you say.” Children absorb the voices and attitudes that surround them. Being kind to yourself, finding healthy ways to deal with stress, and looking on the bright side is going to be better for your kid’s wellbeing in the long-run than feeding them kale.
  2. Counter extremist thinking. Pessimists think that if one attempt goes wrong, all similar future attempts will also fail. When kids complain about things like, “I’ll never understand math,” validate them, but also point out how they’re jumping to a conclusion: “Math can be hard, but remember how you figured out fractions? You can figure this out, too.”
  3. Help them see the difference between what they can and can’t control. They may not be able to control what grade they get in a class, but they can control how hard they work. If they base their attitude on what they put in instead of what the teacher does with that, they’ll feel a lot more satisfied with themselves. Likewise, kids can’t control if people like them, but they can control how kind they are; they can’t control if the weather’s nice or not, but they can control if they find something fun to do.

There are no perfect parents, and there are no perfect kids, but there are happy parents, and there are happy kids. Following these tips will take you and your kids a step closer to harnessing happiness and optimism–we’re positive about that.

About Coconut Cove Indoor Playground

Coconut Cove Family Entertainment Center is Utah’s best indoor playground, family amusement center, or family recreation center for young families with children under age 12. The playground has dozens of “play events” for young children, including trampolines, ball cannons, a ball fountain, spiral slides, giant racing wavy slides, crawl tunnels, mirrors, bridges, stepping stones, a toddler area, and birthday party rooms made out of large Lego blocks. At Coconut Cove we believe in getting kids off of screens or arcades and participating in Active Play. Coconut Cove prides itself on being safe, clean, sanitary, and affordable! It has plenty of seating for adults and fun entertainment for children. It is a great place for kids birthday parties, mommy play dates, or for families to just come and have fun! If you are looking for fun activities for kids in Utah, come to Coconut Cove!