How to Teach Your Kids to Have Hope
Here’s how to teach your kids to have hope—not only by talking about it, but helping your child see it, live it, and believe in it. Children are not born hopeful; they learn this trait from childhood experiences and life skills that help them face problems with positivity and confidence. As a parent, you have the biggest influence on your child’s values and attitudes.
Develop and show your own sense of hope
The best way how to teach your kids to have hope is to have hope yourself. If you are a positive person, there is a higher chance that he will also react to problems in the same way.
Here are some ways to role model hope to your child:
- Use everyday situations to show that it’s better to look for solutions instead of complaining about them. For example, if the car breaks down on your way to school, stay calm and ask your child to help you think of other options. By brainstorming together, you turn a stressful situation into a life lesson that “there will always be a way.”
- Watch your language. Words are powerful. Saying things like “there are so many idiots in this world” or “you just can’t trust the government” even in jest can shape your child’s perspective.
- Talk about your dreams and goals. It can be your personal goal like losing weight, or family goals like saving money for a vacation. Encourage your child to share his own goals, too. This helps your child see that it’s good to hope for better things, and possible to work for them.
Build stronger and healthier family bonds
Psychology Today says that a healthy family relationship and environment helps build a child’s sense of trust in himself, others and the world. Positive childhood experiences include:
- His needs are consistently met
- Promises are kept
- He gets love and support from people who matter most to him
This in turn teaches him that even if problems happen, people are still fundamentally good. Even if he experiences disappointment or betrayal in the future, the family and the home become a sanctuary, and a source of strength and hope.
Encourage volunteering and community involvement
One way how to teach your kids to have hope is to show them that they can make a difference. This is especially important when they read or hear about bad news on TV or the internet, or go through a crisis like the recent COVID-19 pandemic. “Yes, this a problem that people can’t solve right away, but you can still do something good.”
Some examples of community involvement that kids can do:
- Helping you pick old clothes, food or other useful items to give to a neighborhood shelter
- Earning money from chores, and then donating part of it for a cause they like
- Helping an elderly neighbor with chores
Look for heroes and positive role models
Because of social media and video sites, children are often exposed to “influencers”. They then get shocked or disturbed when their Internet heroes get involved in scandals and fights, or say something that goes against the values they learned at home.
While you can’t completely filter out these negative influences, you can help provide better role models that know how to teach your kids to have hope and a positive mindset. This can include:
- Community heroes like the frontliners who served during the COVID-19 pandemic, or neighbors who regularly volunteer and help others. You can even engage your child in a conversation about how people can be a positive influence in their regular jobs: “How do you think your teacher is a hero?”
- Historical figures whose actions or inventions helped others, and what they overcome in order to accomplish them
- Youth influencers like Greta Thurnberg who are making a stand for a good cause
- Fictional heroes in movies or books that show qualities of resilience, hope and positivity as they face different challenges
Process conflict and other emotions in a positive and hopeful way
If there is a real and palpable problem – like anxiety during the pandemic, or disappointment about something that happened at work – don’t sugarcoat it, suppress it, or make half-hearted sayings like “Every cloud has a silver lining.”
Children are very intuitive and empathic, and they can sense “fake hope” and the negative emotions that is simmering under the surface. It erodes the child’s sense of trust (because they feel you are lying or talking down to them) and make them feel even more anxious since they’re thinking about what you’re trying to hide.
Suppressing negativity also backfires because they don’t learn how to deal with emotions or conflicts.
It is much healthier to talk about the problem, but in a healthy and child-appropriate way. Don’t overwhelm them with details, but you can share what you feel and ask for a hug. Then, say how even when times are hard, you feel lucky to have them with you, and know that you can get through this together.
Your child see that even adults get scared or tired sometimes, but this is how hope works: you can share your problems and burdens with each other, and move forward together.
Conclusion on Teach Your Kids to Have Hope -It starts at home
These are just some ways to how to teach your kids to have hope. As a parent, you know your child better than anyone else, and can find many situations in everyday life that you can turn into life lessons or talking points. As long as you have a “hope mindset”, your child will develop it too.