This is a new, strange situation for us all and some kids out there might need a little help adjusting to a new routine … or a welcome break from the constant use of technology. If any of you are seeing a dip in the mood level of your kids or just want to help them be a little bit more positive / cheerful here are a few tips you can try at home.
Life in Pictures
Ask the kids to draw 2 pictures (can just be stick men) of key things that have happened in their life so far. They should be anything from a picture of them playing with friends / family, an achievement, an award or it could even be of them meeting new family members (little brothers / cousins etc). Give them time to think and try not to throw ideas at them, it’s much more interesting if they come up with the pictures themselves.
I can’t highlight enough that the quality of drawing is not important, that is not the target here. Get them to talk through the first few pictures and listen to their description. Ask them questions on it to draw out more information of how they remember the event.
Now get them to draw 4 pictures of great things they think they could do in their life. Tell them to aim high – a job they want, a place they want to go, something they want to achieve, a car they’d like to have … anything exciting and adventurous.
Now get each child to talk you through each of their drawings and (hopefully if this has worked) their wee faces should light up as they get excited about some amazing things they might get to do one day.
The Focus Discussion
If you feel your child has sank into a negative mindset then try this one to see if it will help get them out of it.
Get 2 pieces of paper, on the first sheet get them to draw a person (stick man is fine) with a sad face in the middle of the page and ask the kids what this sad person might be focusing on and thinking about that could make them always sad. Ask them to write their answers on the paper around the person. This brings out what might already be bothering them or making them sad.
Now on the second sheet of paper ask the kids to draw a happy person and all the things they might be thinking about and focusing on. Again ask them to write their answers around the happy person and you should see them pick out things that make them happy or at least gain an understanding of what they think makes others happy.
Ask them if both people had the choice of what to focus on. Ask them what they would prefer to think about themselves. This shows them the impact of the choices we all make everyday and most importantly that they have the power to choose.
Give everyone a sheet of paper or a notebook and a pen then ask them to write down 5 good things from the last day or so. Give them 5 or 10 minutes to do so, it is not a race. It doesn’t have to be big things, it just has to be something good to remind them that they do have good experiences every day and that even in a bad day there was still some good things happening.
It can be anything from having a nice meal, getting a treat from the shop, doing something fun with a friend to something big like them passing a test or winning an award. Sometimes it will take them (and you) a bit of time to think back through what you’ve done in the last 24 hours so make sure you don’t rush them and let them find something themselves.
Wait for everyone to finish writing theirs and then take turns to read out your list. If you do this every day, at any point of the day that suits you and your family, (for a month at least) you will find by the end of the month not only are your kids more aware of how lucky they are to do so many good things but that they will be much more positive approaching every new situation as well.
Doing this you will also find yourself actively looking for good things throughout your day to tell your family about later.
This is one of my favourites and even done by great celebrities like Bradley Cooper, Chris Pratt, Will Arnett and so many more. It’s a simple way to help your kids create better daily habits of realising how lucky they are instead of taking everything they have for granted.
Very much like the Daily Goodness, this time do the same technique each listing out a very minimum of 5 things you are grateful for. Give your family time to write down 5 things they have in their life that they are grateful for. Take turns to read out your list or go round the family taking turns to say one at a time until you’ve all said at least 5.
For the younger ones it’s sometimes easier explained as “Tell me something you are lucky to have … a toy, something you have (objects / possessions), something you are good at (skills), people in the family / friends (what about them is good), anything about your life that makes you feel good / lucky”.
The first few days or even week of this should be really simple and quick but after that everyone will need to get creative, that’s where the fun starts and where everyone will really start to identify just how lucky they are.
This reminds everyone in the family just how lucky you all are and you will clearly see improved mood levels and much more appreciative kids. They only take a matter of minutes to do each day and if you stick with them every day you really will help create a family full of good finders with positive mindsets.
Big Action 5
Every morning, before the Home Schooling begins (or on the weekend, the Game Console gets switched on) get your family to write down 5 things they want to achieve that day.
This can be playing monopoly with mum and dad, or going a bike ride, or talking to certain friend on FaceTime etc. It could even be things a bit more advanced like trying out a new skill, or learning a new song on guitar, practising a certain skill at football etc. Whatever it is, set at least 5.
At bedtime revisit these lists and see how many they can tick off. The first few days it might only be one or two things but after a week or so you will hopefully find that they set 5 decent goals and more importantly try their hardest to get them all done so they can get that tick for each at bedtime.
This a hugely proven confidence building technique. Try it yourself with them, even if it is just your usual daily chores to start with. Over time you will feel that wee boost from ticking them off together at bedtime and you’ll start getting more ambitious.
For more of my proven techniques and whole host of other free resources check out the Resources section of the site.
Thanks for reading, I’d love to hear your feedback via text, messenger or even in comments below.