Dr. Kristin Schaefer-Schiumo| Manhasset NY

Family First- The "Little" Things

Recently, I asked you to consider ringing in the new year with a renewed focus on family. Today, I'd like give you simple tools that you can slip easily into family life. We can all benefit from improving our positive thinking. What we think about greatly impacts our mood. If we can find the good in a situation, see our positive actions, feel gratitude toward others, then we are more likely to feel energized, content and focused. The question is, how do we teach ourselves and family members to think in this way? Here are some possibilities:

  • 1. As you sit down for a family dinner, snack, or end of day chat, take a few minutes to have each person state "what went well" today. The most important aspect of this is a focus on "the little things". For example, your child might say she played good defense in soccer today and you might say you had a positive discussion with a colleague or old friend. The point is to notice the positive things about the day and to take the time to share them.
  • 2. At the end of each day, perhaps as part of a bedtime routine, ask your child to tell you a few things he is grateful for about the day. She may say that she's grateful for the sunny day, time spent with family, or the great book she read. You may state that you are grateful for the beautiful orange and yellow fall leaves or a friend surprising you with a cup of tea. Again, each persons list should be specific to the day and not something that can just be said day after day.
  • 3 Build confidence by making sure you include things about yourself , and have your child do the same, in your discussion of "what went right" today. For example, I was patient with my child today, or I did not snap at my husband. There are many ways to help ourselves, and our children, develop a more positive and grateful outlook. By doing so together, we are demonstrating a commitment to connected family life