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FLIP-It for schools and home-schooling parents.


Module 2 of the FLIP-it Thinking model will help parents and children to understand the power of positive language. Children cope better and become more resilient when adults use positive language. For more modules and topics go to our online learning page.


Last week we looked at the F of FLIP It Thinking. And this week we move onto L for Language.

Introduction to Positive Language

Here, Sarah Creegan explains the importance of using positive language when we’re helping our children to be more resilient and to develop great coping skills.

The Power of Positive Language

Our emotional state fuels our body language and internal monologue, and it can quickly turn into a negative self-fulfilling cycle. If we can trick our minds by changing our language then we help put ourselves in the best mental state possible. We recommend … a power pose!


Sarah Creegan gives parents some top tips for how to FLIP your language – and explains how putting a pen in your mouth might help!


In Laughology’s FLIP It Thinking model, the L stands for Language. This includes:

  • What we say and the types of words we use
  • Voice, tone and pitch
  • Body language
  • Facial expressions

With whole families confined to their homes for a while, the language that we use is going to be really important in helping us to cope and be resilient. There are going to be times when adults and children use negative words, raise their voices, slump and frown – and that’s okay. We’re all human!

However, if we can all be a bit more aware of the times when we are being negative, we can rethink and FLIP our words and actions into positives. Here’s how:

Rethinking our language

  • Have you ever told your child off for not paying attention? Of course you have! Imagine if, instead, you praised them for being able to pay attention to lots of things at the same time. Then, redirect them to what you want them to focus on right now - it changes the dynamics.
  • If somebody said to you, ‘Don’t think of a pink elephant,’ what would you immediately do? People don’t hear the word don’t. Instead, try saying what you do want to happen. Swap, ‘Don’t drop that drink,’ to ‘Carry that drink carefully, using both hands and keeping your eyes on it all the way.’ And ta daaaa! One juice gets from A to B, without being spilt all over the floor.

Thinking about how we respond when things are tricky

When things are tricky, children and adults can easily slip into the habit of using the 3 Ps. Permanent, personal and pervasive words. By listening out for these, in yourself and your kids, you can chat through the language that was used and what could have been said instead.

  • Permanent – words like ‘never’ and ‘always’ are used. Instead of saying ‘We’ll never get as much home school learning done as the ******* Jones family’ (insert your own adjective), say ‘It’s not a competition. We’ll do what we can and be proud of ourselves.’
  • Personal – although it might feel like it sometimes, it’s highly unlikely that things only ever happen to you. ‘The online shopping website has crashed again – that would happen to us, wouldn’t it?!’ Particularly at the moment, make sure everyone gives a thought for others, and puts any small, solvable troubles they have, into perspective.
  • Pervasive – in the old world that we used to live in, how often did you say you’d had a dreadful day at work when, actually, one thing had gone wrong and everything else had been fine? Try not to do that in this new, temporary world. ‘Although we had a little blip this morning, overall it was a great day and I’m really proud of the way we turned things around this afternoon.’

Modelling positivity and a can-do attitude

  • In tricky times, it can be difficult for adults to model a positive outlook. When we naturally feel happy, we smile and laugh. These actions cause our bodies to release helpful chemicals, which lower stress and even boost our immune system. If you don’t feel like smiling naturally, stick a pen between your teeth. It creates the same effect!



Download FLIP-It activity

DO! When we use positive language, we learn to cope better and to be more confident. Power posing in the style of your favourite superhero is a fun way to help the whole family FLIP their thinking and become more positive. Here’s how…

Download a lesson plan

If you’d like to know a bit more about creating strong personal mantras, why not download and have a go at these activities from Laughology’s Happy Centred School programme. The lesson plans are designed for use in schools, but these games work just as well in a front room or garden.

Free virtual workplace learning & development classrooms. Register now.

big chat about mental health logo


Are organisations and companies just paying lip service?
Join some of the most interesting and respected voices in positive psychology for our Our Big Chat about…Thinking outside the tick box, inaugural webinar. Our two and half hour interactive event will look at the best mental health strategies for organisations, identifying what works and what doesn’t.

Dave McPartlin:

Dave is the Headteacher of Flakefleet Primary School.
Creating the right environment for people and communities to flourish

Sunita Hirani

Sunita is one of the BBC’s key equality, diversity and inclusivity experts.
Why inclusion is essential for mental wellbeing

Professor Sir Cary Cooper

Cary is one the world’s most influential voices in occupational health and wellbeing.
Enhancing Mental Wellbeing at Work. Evidence based strategies for creating a wellbeing culture at work.

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