make your own sunshine

It may seem so easy to blame others for the way you feel. She made me mad! He said something that made me sad! The truth is, you are responsible for your feelings no matter what is going on around you. In the end, YOU are the master of your own happiness. What we allow to affect us is all a matter of perspective.

Each and every one of us has a responsibility to find the bright side of every situation in order to maintain our own happiness and positivity. However, when every day seems like a fight against the world, finding that silver lining can be difficult.

This is especially true for our children who are continually learning how to identify their emotions. It’s hard to imagine that they are capable of controlling them too.

But they are and, thankfully, we can teach them how to do so with simple techniques such as changing thought patterns and mindfulness. It’s not easy but, with practice, your child can gain control over which thoughts they allow in, which ones they focus on and which ones they ignore. They can learn to make their own sunshine no matter the storms around them.

respond, don’t react
Reacting occurs when you deal with a situation by letting your emotions take over. This may cause you to act impulsively or “fly off the handle” or it may simply let things ruin your day. By reacting, we are placing blame on the other person for the way we are feeling and therefore behaving.

Responding involves some thought and focus on the situation and results in a delayed, yet reasonable, response. Pausing to reflect on a situation before responding leads to more solution based resolutions.

To help train your child’s mind to begin responding instead of reacting, have them take a deep breath when something happens that is upsetting or stressful. It is important to pause here and remind them that they do not need to act immediately. The next step is knowing what to do during that pause, which is a practice called mindfulness.

practice mindfulness
The amazing thing about mindfulness is that it can be practiced at any point in the day and you do not have to wait for when a stressful or upsetting situation occurs to hone your skills.

A simple mindfulness exercise you can teach your child while they are calm and relaxed is to close their eyes, clear their mind and focus solely on their breathing. If they find their minds wandering, coach them to bring their thoughts back to their breathing. Keep practicing this until the length of time between needing to refocus becomes longer.

To go back to that pause we encouraged our child to take before reacting or responding – have them take a moment to recognize those emotions bubbling under the surface before letting them go.

This may take a few moments and may involve leaving the situation. Once the emotion has floated away, have them consider whether the thought that caused it is worth paying attention to or if it can be ignored completely.

Lastly, discuss what a more appropriate response could be. Should you simply let that person know how they made you feel? Should you remove yourself from the situation altogether? Should you go discuss the issue with a friend or family member?

mindful children’s books
It can be tricky to get little ones to settle down and understand their feelings, let alone mindfulness. Here are some books that can help you do just that! Anh’s Anger by Gail Silver is a beautifully written story of a young boy who comes to know his own anger and how to deal with it, Visiting Feelings by Lauren Rubenstein is a gorgeously illustrated and poetic book that explores feelings without naming them, but instead uses abstract descriptions which really engage young children and The Lemonade Hurricane: A Story of Mindfulness and Meditation by Licia Morelli is a wonderful book to introduce meditation to children through the story of a young girl and her little brother, who she fittingly calls “The Lemonade Hurricane”.

you do you
It is so important to teach our children that we are the masters of our own happiness and while seeking this feeling of fulfillment can be easy, not allowing others to dampen it can be hard. With that in mind, it is also vital to remind your child that, while you are the master of how you feel, you are the master of how you act as well. These lessons can prove to be so beneficial in helping our children become more responsible for their reactions, in control of their emotions, and resilient enough to weather the unpredictable storms life can bring.

coloring fun
Please enjoy this free Tot Tails coloring page to help share this message with your child.

share with us
We would love to hear your experiences and advice on teaching your children how to see things in a brighter perspective. Are there any books or resources you feel can help? Thanks so much for reading and feel free to comment below!


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