Dear Parents and Guardians,
Good morning, everyone! As we are now several weeks into this new normal, it might be a good time to take a pause and think about what aspects of this new life you and your family are grateful for. Although these circumstances have created many hardships and have required changes and sacrifices from all families, there are likely a few bright spots. Sometimes, it is difficult to feel thankful and this is normal and OK. Sometimes when we take the time to think of these things, it actually helps us cope with the difficult parts of our lives. Today’s focus skills is using finger tracing as a way of recognizing things we are grateful for.
Using the five fingers of your hand as a guide, help your child think through one thing in each category that they are grateful for (and feel free to participate as well!) -- this becomes your child’s Top 5 list. One strategy for calming down or coping with difficult things is to return to your Top 5 list and slowly trace each finger while picturing the area of gratitude.
Suggestions for using this skill:
● Brainstorm areas of gratitude with your child. This may be a good activity to do with the whole family, everyone sharing different things they are grateful for.
● Take time to express gratitude with your child (for example, take turns at dinner or bed time to talk about something that happened during the day to be grateful for).
● Provide positive praise when you hear your child expressing gratitude (That was thoughtful of you to help your brother find his toy. I’m sure that made him feel good.).
● Go to Gonoodle.com: https://family.gonoodle.com/activities/be-grateful for a short gratitude activity
In this time of uncertainty and change, one way to shift to a more positive mindset at home is to start a “pay it forward” challenge within your family. One person does something nice for someone else, that person recognizes the kind act and then performs a kind act for someone else, and the pattern continues. Alternatively, your family could set up a “kindness count” (paper posted on the refrigerator, jar that is filled with marbles, etc.). Each time a family member recognizes something kind that another person did, a tally (or marble) is added to the count.
Marissa Lloyd, LPCMH