My eight year old has been waking up at night for weeks now and can’t go back to sleep because she has been having bad dreams and is afraid. Sometimes she will be up for hours, going from room to room, being tucked back in only to go to someone else’s room and basically not getting enough sleep. I had tried ‘everything’ I knew to do & that parenting books said to do and nothing seemed to be working. Then I remembered something I do, and have encouraged my children to do, when I’m ‘scared’ or ‘afraid’: To think of things that you’re grateful for instead.
This may sound silly, but it works. When we’re afraid we’re focusing on fear and negative thoughts and emotions. When we’re thinking of things that we’re grateful for, we’re focusing on the positive and the positive emotions flow.
So, Alex and I sat for a few minutes before bed and talked about what she could do when she woke up in the middle of the night. I told her that instead of thinking about her scary dream, or whatever else her little mind was thinking about that was scaring her, that instead, think about things that made her happy or that she was grateful for. I told her to think of all of the people that she loved, favorite places and things she loved doing. I encouraged her to really think about this and to feel grateful for all of the wonderful people and things in her life. She smiled and said she would try.
The next morning she came downstairs after a great nights’ sleep and the first night she had stayed in her bed in weeks. She was so happy, excited and proud of herself. She said that when she woke up she did what we talked about, thought of happy things and what she was grateful for and then after a while she just fell back to sleep and didn’t even realize it! More importantly than sleeping through the night, she added another great tool in her gratitude and happiness toolbox!
I’ve used this strategy myself when I’m worried about my children, or something else that’s going on. It’s actually a strategy that you can use whenever you catch yourself thinking negative thoughts or feeling negative emotions. While they can serve a purpose, like warning us to be careful or making us aware of something we need to know, they can also become very destructive, very fast.
So, this week whenever you’re scared, worried or even sad, change your thoughts and focus on what you have to be grateful for instead. Just try it! Also, be sure to encourage your children to do this too. It’s a great way, especially for teenagers, to bust a bad mood and focus on the positive instead!
We all want to be happier and more grateful and we want our children to be happier and more grateful too. This week you can be happier and more grateful, and teach your children to be too, by changing your thoughts to positive thoughts by thinking of things that you’re grateful for whenever you’re scared, worried or even sad. It’s easy, it’s fun, it’s free and it takes no time at all, so do it!
Remember, knowing it and doing it are two very different things. Common sense isn’t always common practice. So while this sounds basic and easy and simple (it is!!), you still have to actually do it to get the benefit of it!
That’s it, super simple right? I hope this tip has served you, and that you’ll do it, and now it’s your turn. As always, I would love to hear from you:
1. What do you think of this tip? Do you think it will work?
2. After you’ve tried it and/or your children have tried it, come back and let us know how it worked.
Thanks so much for being here, for being a Mom (or Dad) and for everything you do each and every day to be the best one you can be; and here’s to all of us creating a better world, one child, and one family at a time, starting with our own.
I’ll see you next time!