Practising gratitude with your children is an excellent way to bring their focus back to positive moments.
For many Australian families, this past year has been unlike anything many of us have ever experienced before. After a year clouded by hard lockdowns, closed borders and being separated from our loved ones, this Christmas will be a celebration like no other. As festivities ramp up, it’s important to remember to stop, breathe, and appreciate the current moment, as we wind down and head into 2022.
The holidays can be a very happy, loving and exciting time –but they can also be stressful. After a year with limited social activities, the pace of the festive season may feel a little more challenging this year. With this in mind, the lead up to 2022 is the perfect time to wrap the year that’s been with your child.
By opening up the conversation to actively reflect on the last 12 months, you can help your child to digest 2021, and step into 2022 letting go of any anxiety or worry that may linger after this tumultuous and difficult year.
When reflecting on the year that’s been, it can be easy to focus on the negatives, rather than the positives. Focusing on the positives can be challenging – so we have collated three mindfulness topics to help guide not only your reflection on the year with your child but other difficult conversations you may have with them.
1. Practice Gratitude
The human brain is wired to hold onto negative experiences and feelings like superglue, and let positive memories and emotions pass by, sometimes without barely a second thought! Acknowledging the challenges of the last year are important but also remember to notice and discuss any positive experiences, what was learned, what hurdles were overcome and what you are looking forward to as a family in 2022.
Practising gratitude with your children is an excellent way to bring their focus back to positive moments, as the act of being thankful evokes joy and happiness in itself – so much so that the benefits of being grateful are abundant – from sleeping better to feeling more alive, and even having a stronger immune system. To uncover some helpful and fun gratitude worksheets, check out our FREE Digital Care Packs for Families here.
2. Choose Optimism
Optimism is a ‘future minded’ emotion that can help your child to develop a positive perspective about what lies ahead. An important part of reflection is in fact looking forward to the future and taking the initiative to plan or predict how you can apply what you have learnt in 2021 to potential scenarios and experiences in 2022. Optimism is like a muscle that we must build and work on – that’s why it is so important to begin embracing and practising being optimistic in childhood.
3. Be Present
Although presents are the hot topic of the moment, we are talking about ‘presence’ – the importance of being present in the current moment. Practising mindfulness and slowing down at this time of year is one of the best things your family can do for your mental health, even when it feels like everything seems to be ramping up. Embracing life’s little moments – a swim at the beach, a quiet hour of reading, can make a world of difference to your overall mindset going into the festive season.
For more resources to support your child through uncertainty check out our Care Packs for Families, containing digital tools created by our team of psychologists.