“I can’t do this.” “I’m no good.” “I hate homework.” Lately, my kid’s been saying this sort of thing on repeat. The negativity brings me down just hearing it, so I can only imagine how he feels if he’s saying and thinking these things all day long. Freeing my child from negative thinking would be a gift. But how?
Telling himself all these negative things is not going to help him get through the day or help him succeed in school. So, what’s a mom to do? I learned that I needed to help my son get out of this negative cycle of thinking in order to be a happier, more confident kid. Here are the 5 strategies I’ve used and you can keep going back to when you need to free your child from negative thinking.

1. Look at the big picture.
When my son’s inner voice gets stuck in a negative cycle of thinking, it’s called chatter, according to psychology professor Ethan Kross. And chatter keeps him up at night. Whether it’s math, last year’s bully, or COVID, I need to help him look at the bigger picture. Overthinking and getting stuck on one negative line of thought can lead to feelings of anxiety and depression. It can also lead to physical ailments. So I’m trying to encourage him to zoom out and not be so hyper-focused on what’s keeping him up. Is this going to matter next week? Next year? Five years from now? If he can look at the wider picture, he’ll have a better perspective on the thing bugging him in the moment.

2. Focus on victories and other happy thoughts.
If he can change the channel from his worries to things that bring him happiness, he’s going to be able to sleep better. And if he’s not stuck on negative thoughts during the day, he’ll be better able to focus in class and interact with his classmates. What brings your child joy? Is it that baseball game coming up? Or the trip to the library after school? Remind him of his past victories to conjure up positive emotions: “Remember that pop fly you caught?” “Or when you played your piano and felt so good afterward?”

3. Experience awe.
Awe is when you contemplate something vast and indescribable. It helps make our concerns feel small. You don’t need to live near the Grand Canyon to experience it either. Does your child have awe-inspiring vacation photos hanging on her wall? Does he enjoy looking at that cool LEGO set he built and has kept up? Whatever gives your child that feeling of amazement and awe works. When your kids are spiraling with worry, point out these things that have evoked positive feelings in the past and see if they can turn their attention there. Hopefully, they can then put things in perspective as the new (and more positive) emotions filter in.

4. Get into nature.
Walk out your front door and look at the vast, blue sky above or gaze at the stars at night. You can’t help but feel small. Being outdoors
can give kids a break from their inner voices and any chatter that might be bringing them down. Tuning in to the sights, sounds, and smells around you can replenish the soul. When I’m in nature, I can’t help but feel God’s presence. Everything from the breeze rustling my daughter’s hair to birdsong reminds me of His intention even with the smallest of creatures. Listening to nature sounds indoors or looking at pictures of nature in a magazine can also have similar effects! iMOM has a printable scavenger hunt you can use when you want to head outdoors.

Being outdoors can give kids a break from their inner voices and any chatter that might be bringing them down.

5. Be a chatter advisor.
Like your kid, mine will inevitably experience many challenges throughout life that will cause him stress. But if he has someone to turn to (Mom!) who can help him get off the hamster wheel of negative thoughts, he’ll not only sleep better, but he’ll be healthier and happier too. He’ll also learn how to handle his inner voice when he’s at school or the ball field. Freeing your child from negative thinking will benefit your child in more ways than one.
How have you helped your kid get unstuck when his or her thoughts have turned negative?
Psychology professor Ethan Kross talks about these and several other tools in his new book, Chatter: The Voice in Our Head, Why it Matters, and How to Handle It.

When you’re outside playing, how do you feel?










By Imom

ASK YOUR CHILD... When you’re outside playing, how do you feel?


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