Happy Wednesday, everyone! We have made it halfway through another week. Although weekdays and weekends may start to feel the same, try making them a little different. Maybe your upcoming weekend could include watching a movie together as a family and taking a break from any schoolwork. Thinking of these upcoming activities can keep us going when the weeks seem long.
Today’s target skill is positive thoughts. There is a connection between our thoughts, feelings, and behavior. If we change our thoughts, it can help us change our feelings which will make it easier to manage everyday tasks and challenges. Using a positive thought or statement includes identifying something positive and repeating the phrase. Examples may include:
● I can do it
● I can do hard things
● It’s OK or I am OK
● I will not give up
● I think I can
Although everyday, and especially under the current circumstances, we are faced with lots of negativity and difficult information, try to balance this information with noticing and being grateful for anything positive. Our current thoughts may include I am stuck at home and the world is unsafe but we can shift that to I am healthy, I have extra quality time with my family, and we will get through this. Either of these thought patterns would likely have a big impact on your mood and actions throughout the day, however, one impact would be positive, and the other would be more negative.
Suggestions for using this skill:
● Identify and model the use of positive thoughts throughout the day. Our children may struggle to come up with ideas on their own. This is a unique and new experience for all of us.
● As a family, brainstorm a list of positive statements and post it in a common area.
● Encourage your child to start assignments with a positive statement (I can do this). The statement can be written on the top of a worksheet or on a note nearby.
● Prior to playing a game, identify some positive thoughts that can be used during or after the game if things don’t go someone’s way (it’s just a game, no big deal, maybe next time, I still had fun, etc.).
● Have a contest to see who can use more positive statements throughout the day. Divide your family in half or have the adult(s) compete against the child(ren).
● Ask your child to identify something positive that has occurred throughout this situation (learned to play a new game, now know how to connect with friends in a different way, etc.).
● Spread positivity. Decorate a piece of paper with a positive note or picture to post for people passing by to see. If you have access to a driveway or chalk, write positive statements and messages there. Post pictures with positive statements in your home in random places to be viewed on a regular basis (place a note on the bathroom mirror to be read whenever brushing teeth). Send a card or an email with positive thoughts to a loved one. We can still impact others when being isolated at home!
● Identify problematic times of the day and create some “go to statements” for these situations
o Mistakes: everyone makes mistakes o Chores: the sooner I do it, the sooner it will be done
Please remember it is OK and completely normal to have negative thoughts and feelings especially at this time. Please be patient with your own negativity and the negative statements and behaviors of your children. This is to be expected. Provide validation and then try to shift thoughts by providing a sense of hope to cope…we can do hard things!
-Marissa, Farah & Lilly