New Year, New Connection - Finding The Little Moments With Your Little (Or Big) Ones
With all of the change and loss that has collectively happened over the past few years, the start of a new year gives you the chance to foster more connection and positivity within yourself and your family. Why not start the new year off with more opportunities for gratitude with your kids?
Taking time to notice and name the positive things (big & small) that are happening daily, can help create your child’s ability to identify and appreciate those positive things on their own. It’s pretty simple: when we teach our brain to notice positive things, it will begin to notice more positive things. It works in a reverse manner as well. If we take time to notice or point out only the bad things about our day, the world, or ourselves then our brain notices and focuses on those things. When we begin to create positive-based neural connections in our brain, our brain learns to use that connection more and more. At first, it might feel unnatural or clunky but the more we practice, the more easily it will come. Think about when you first learned how to drive a car or ride a bike. You had to consciously think of each step and action that needed to take place. Over time and with more practice, you learned how to do all of those things without conscious effort. It’s the same for noticing the positive things about yourself and the world.
Let me introduce you to the Joy A Day Jar: A simple and effective way to create more connection between you and your kid(s) and build their ability to find positivity in themselves and the world. The Joy A Day Jar is a daily or weekly check-in that you do with your kids to point out the little positive moments that happen every day. From seeing a butterfly to learning a new skating trick to helping a classmate, the opportunities for positivity are endless. Finding and decorating the jar is the first step to creating an exciting and inviting place for your family to share their little moments. There is a list of questions and ideas listed below to help you and your kid think of “joys” to add to their jar. This could be added to your family’s dinnertime conversation or your kid’s bedtime routine. Parents are encouraged to add their own items to the jar and conversation as well. After a month or when the jar is full, empty the jar and read through all of the wonderful things that have happened. It can act almost as a positivity yearbook to remind you and your kid of all of the nice things that have happened.
Here are some questions to ask yourself or your kids to help find the little positive moments:
What is something that made you smile today?
What is something or someone that you are grateful for today?
What is something funny or silly that happened today?
What is one thing that was beautiful today?
What is something that you are proud of yourself for doing/accomplishing/being?
What is one thing that you are passionate about?
What was your favorite moment from the day?
What surprised you most about today?
What is something new you recently learned about yourself?
How did you show kindness today?
Steps & Materials for the Joy A Day Jar:
1 jar or bowl or Tupperware container (something with a lid)
Small pieces of paper to write on (you can use colorful paper for added fun)
Pen, marker, or pencil (something to write with)
2-5 minutes a day
Paige Stoker, AMFT #115057 is an Associate Marriage & Family Therapist at Empire Therapy & Family Services. Paige can be reached at 424.209.2543 or email@example.com.
Supervised by Wesley Coultas, LMFT #90932