As overwhelmed teachers panic and send out ‘death by worksheet’ and super-stressed parents get competitive about how many their child has completed… Here’s one quick thing to try instead with amazing research behind it.
We all know the benefits of getting our thoughts out of our heads in a diary and seeing our feelings in the idle drawings and doodlings we create, but if we try to do it regularly and incorporate some gratitude, neuroscientists tell us amazing things happen to us! Some teens/children will like scrap-booking, others may want a workbook type structure, like the Big Life journal
Others may like a gratitude jar. People do this differently, but it’s an easy way for you to really see (and so count) your blessings. You write down one (or perhaps three) things each day and pop them in the jar. You might want to do it as a family? Here are some useful sentence starters if they are stuck.
It doesn’t matter how you do it, just know:
- Gratitude is proven to make our children happier. Science has shown the effect on our brains of taking time to regularly notice all the good things in life. Encourage them to write it down, say thank you, and reflect on the good they have done. Giving and receiving thanks is a natural antidepressant: our brain releases dopamine and serotonin, our feel-good neurotransmitters (brain chemicals).
- It boosts their immune system, promotes better sleep and reduces pain. Exactly what we need right now!
- Studies show it boosts resilience and helps them be less affected by traumatic events. Don’t we all need a bit of that right now?!
- It keeps them writing (which maintains the strength and dexterity in their growing fingers) but they are writing for a real purpose that will have a genuine impact in the long term.
Our children’s time, buy-in and focus is precious, we don’t want to waste it.
An alternative might be a ‘date jar‘. I’m not sure what you’d call them when they are with your kids, but essentially each day you are all writing down things that you want to, when things improve. We will get through this…