Jean Tracy, MSS
Raising optimistic kids isn't difficult when you use these parenting skills. Our parenting expert, Janet Coppola, is the founder of Express Yourself. Let's find out her 5 strategies.

1. Display and maintain a positive approach and always tell them you love them.

Janet's positive approach is important. Nobody likes being yelled at, especially kids.

Telling children that you love them, why you love them, and using love notes can be very effective in raising optimistic kids. Smiling a lot helps too.

2. Allow children the opportunity to see that we all make mistakes at times as we are human beings.

I like Janet's advice especially if you have sensitive perfectionist kids.

One of my son's hated making mistakes, like spilling his glass of milk. I told him, "Everybody makes mistakes. Just clean it up." I handed him the paper towels.

He needed more. So I asked him to draw a picture of everyone in our family including cousins, aunts, and uncles. He loved drawing so this was fun for him.

Then in big letters I asked him to write, "All People Are Mistake Makers." We posted the picture with the words on the refrigerator. Then we discussed it. It helped him relax when he made a mistake and to fix it if he could.

Now his children tell me, "It's just a mistake, Grandma, " as they fix their mistakes.

3. Show them that we are all afraid of something and explain to them the importance of tackling their fears.

I like Janet's advice here because my 4-year-old granddaughter fears bugs. To get over this fear we look under big rocks for bugs and save them in a container to observe. The other day she let a couple of ants crawl on her hands and felt fine. Teaching kids to tackle fears is an important step to becoming optimistic by feeling confident.

4. Promote children's thinking skills and encourage independence from an early age.

Asking kids thinking questions is often better than taking over and doing something for them. "How do you think this works?" is a great question to ask. Then congratulate them for trying to figure it out. This promotes independence too as they become "I can" children.

5. Be honest with children even when they ask difficult and sensitive questions.

Janet is right. But we have to use common sense with this one. Telling kids more than they need to know about issues like sex could worry, confuse, or entice them to act on what we say.

On other issues when we fib and they find out, they loose some of their trust in us. Most of the time it's easy to be completely truthful. But when we're not sure of what to say, it's perfectly OK to say, "I need some time to think about it."

Raising optimistic kids isn't difficult when you think about it. The trick is to think before we speak and keep it positive.

Let's give Janet a big "THANK YOU" for her fine ideas. To connect with Janet go to her Express Yourself website at where she promotes children to express themselves.

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