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Positive attitudes
   

Gratitude
   
 

Good stuff diary

 
 

Suggest to a child or a group of children that, before they go to sleep, they take a notepad or a special diary and try writing down 5 things that they are thankful for on that day, for example:

  • I passed my maths test
  • I really enjoyed playing/going out with my friend
  • I had my favourite meal for dinner.

On days when it seems that not much has happened, the things can be much more simple or general, for example:

  • I am lucky to have hot water for my shower
  • The sun was shining today
  • I am thankful for my healthy body and that I am able to walk and run.
 
     

 

 

Grateful Poster

 
  Use a big piece of poster board or strong paper and write "For this I am Grateful" across the top. Put it up on the wall and keep it up for a week or even a month. Ask everyone in the family or class or club to write or draw something on the poster for which he/she is grateful. This could be something big (like winning a football match or getting an A in a test) or something small (like having a fun walk with the dog or enjoying the sunshine). Continue to add to it every day. At the end of the week or month, take it down and take turns to read aloud what was written. This helps show kids that focusing on finding things to be thankful for reminds us of all the things we have.  
     

 

 

What Went Well?

 
 

This activity can be used for groups or with individuals – or you can do it yourself! The more often you do it, the easier it becomes. Over time it will encourage a happier outlook on life.

Write "WWW" in the middle of a page of flip chart paper and ask the child or group of children what went well for them today – or this week. Brainstorm as many positive things that happened. On difficult days this can be harder but it is an important exercise for remembering all the good things in our lives – some of which can be very simple, such as having a warm home, friends to play with, good food to eat, etc. Younger children may prefer to draw a picture of what they are happy about or thankful for.

 
     

 

 

Thankful Things

 
  Think about all the good things in your life that make you feel thankful - call them ‘Thankful Things’.

What you need:

  • A bag of letters, such as magnetic letters, letter tiles from a board game, or letters that have been handwritten on separate pieces of paper.

What you do:

  • Take it in turns to pull a letter out of the bag.
  • Think of something you’re really thankful for that begins with the letter you’ve just chosen.
  • Then invite everyone else to say what they’re thankful for that begins with the same letter.
  • Try to choose Thankful Things that no one else has chosen.
  • See how many Thankful Things you can find together.

Some things to talk about together:

  • What things are you most thankful for today?
  • What are you most thankful for about each other?
  • How do you feel when you’ve spent time thinking about your Thankful Things?

Other ideas:

  • Pull a letter out of the bag and set a timer for one minute. See how many Thankful Things you can think of together before the buzzer goes. Then choose another letter and do it all over again.
  • Write all the letters of the alphabet down the side of a piece of paper. Then think of at least one Thankful Thing for each letter of the alphabet. Or see how many you can think of for each letter of the alphabet. If you find four for each letter you will have more than one hundred Thankful Things!
  • Write a different letter of the alphabet on 26 different sheets of paper. Stick them all around the room and give everyone a pencil. Ask them to write as many Thankful Things as possible on the papers around the room. So all the Thankful Things beginning with A will be written on the A sheet of paper, etc.
  • Find a book, like an address book, that has a page or two for every letter of the alphabet. Collect lists of your Thankful Things in your special book.
  • Make a Thankful Thing scrapbook with a young child. Use different coloured pages. Cut pictures of colourful Thankful Things from old magazines and stick them on the matching pages.
  • Make a thankful display or a thankful box and fill it with things that remind you of your favourite Thankful Things.
 
     

 

Optimism
   
 

Happy Shields

 
 


Happiness and optimism are positive attitudes that help protect our minds, bodies and relationships. Making Happy Shields can help children to identify their happy thoughts, encouraging memories and inspiring hopes.

What you need:

  • Large sheets of thin card (at least A3)
  • Pencils
  • Scissors
  • Colouring materials
  • Ruler
  • Collage scraps
  • Glue

What you do:

  • First, make your own happy shield as an example so that the children can see what to do.
  • Give everyone a large sheet of thin card.
  • Ask them to fold the card in half both ways to divide the card into four rectangles.
  • Open out the card and refold the two long sides together.
  • At the bottom of the folded card draw a gentle curve from the fold around to the sides of the card, to make the bottom edge of the shield.
  • Keeping the card folded, cut along this curve to make a shield with four sections.
  • Open out the card and then fold the top edge down 3-4cm so that there is a border along the top edge of the shield.

  • In the top border write your name.
  • In the top rectangles draw or write about some things that happened to you, or some things different people have said to you, that make you feel happy and strong whenever you think about them. These might be things like a time when you did something that made you feel proud, or when something you were worried about turned out really well. Or maybe a teacher noticed that were good at something, or a parent told you that you were great and one day you’d do something amazing
  • In the bottom two shapes draw or write about your dreams, or some of the things that you hope will happen in the future, or some of the things you’re looking forward to. Choose things that make you feel happy and strong when you think about them.
  • Display your shield in a special place and use it to encourage you when you need to feel strong and happy.

Some things to talk about together:

  • How do you feel inside when you think about the good things you’re looking forward to?
  • Who can help you to feel better during the times when you think there isn’t anything good to look forward to?
  • What plans can you make together with your friends, your class or your family so that you can have some lovely things to look forward to?
  • What are the things you like to think about when you need to feel strong?

Other ideas:

  • Play the song ‘Favourite Things’ from ‘The Sound of Music’ and talk about the special things Maria likes to think about when she feel scared or worried. Adapt the song and put your own favourite things into the words.
  • Make happy bunting. Give each person a long piece of narrow string or ribbon, at least 2m long. Make a diamond template out of paper, so that it can be folded in half to form a slightly elongated triangular flag. Cut several diamonds for each person out of different coloured and patterned paper. Fold the diamonds neatly over the ribbon. Use glue stick to stick the two sides of the folded diamond together so that they can hang down to make bunting flags. Then let everyone decorate their own string of bunting flags with words and pictures that help them to feel happy and strong, or words and pictures that describe their hopes and dreams.
 
     



 

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