Instilling Hope in Children

Instilling Hope in Children

Last update: 12 December, 2016

A child is capable of expecting a gift day after day and year after year. The little one never loses hope when he really wants something. However, as the child grows older, he becomes accustomed to never getting anything, he will also end up losing hope, which can lead to harmful consequences in his psyche and proper development.

It is therefore important to instill hope in our little ones. We must encourage it because it is a value that should never be lost. This is a mission that falls on parents, teachers and instructors.

However, it is also necessary to remember that it is not good to allow the child to end up with excessively naive attitudes. That is to say, one should not promote false hopes. We should encourage realistic optimism if we want to improve their quality of life.

How to create the right space to instill hope in little ones

In order to instill and enhance hope in our children, we are going to draw on the theories of one of the most important child psychologists of the twentieth century. We are speaking about  Paulo Freire, who bases his thinking on a series of simple and very useful premises:

  • Stimulation: We must encourage the young person to ask, be curious to learn and have an interest in discovering. Teaching him to experiment and go always beyond to explore his limits is truly useful and appropriate.
  • Exemplification: It is complex to try to instill in small values such as hope if we do not serve as a mirror and example. We must transmit to the child everything we really want him to learn through gestures, words, behaviors, etc.

“Teaching requires the embodiment of words by example”

-Paulo Freire-

  • Autonomy: Autonomy is always important in the lives of the little ones. Excessive protection can cause the young person to overestimate hope, clinging to it in an unhealthy way. However, if he is free to experiment, check and even get frustrated when leaving his comfort zone, his development will be much more appropriate.
  • Active listening: The best way to instill any value in a little one is to listen actively. We must make him feel understood and respected. That way you can engage in dialogue in which you can clearly explain everything you want to say and he will understand, internalize and emit his own critical judgments.
  • Generosity: Generosity is a wonderful value that will instill in your child notions of nobility and empathy. What better way to understand hope? Give without expecting anything in return because it is the ideal way to get rewards. What you do not like being done to you, do not do it yourself. With this attitude, hope will rarely turn into naivete.
  • Creation: Finally, if you want to transmit values in the child as the hope, it is best to form a creative space in which the information received and transmitted is useful, open to interpretation and full of knowledge.

How to instill hope in a practical way

Once we have created the space of adequate understanding for our little one to internalize values such as hope, it is time to put everything learned into practice. For this, you can carry out activities such as:

  • The use of positive reinforcement when the child acts correctly.
  • Discussions to establish norms to respect.
  • Instill a love of reading stories or fables.
  • Combine experimentation with the visual, so that the child can manipulate, but also observe.
  • Use examples without differentiating responsibilities between equals, using the right language and always respecting the idiosyncrasy of each personality.

“We all know something. We all ignore something. That’s why we always learn”

-Paulo Freire-


Instilling hope in children is our responsibility. Although we must remain grounded in reality, we should never lost dreams.

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This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.