with a few thoughts.
I created these cards for the girls about a month ago. Eve was really in the throes of struggling with anxiety at bedtime and cried every morning when I woke her up for school, desperately searching for some reason I ought to let her stay home. I hated to see her start and end her days like that and, honestly, it was wearing on me, too. So one day I sat at the kitchen table and thought about how I could help. The idea I came up with was this.
Each girl has a ring with six alternating-color beads on it. There are three questions to ask before they get out of bed in the morning and three to ask right before they fall asleep. My plan was to have them hold the ring and slide the first bead as they ask the first question: (AM) What can I expect from today? Then as they come up with an answer (spelling test, PE, crazy rushed schedule, visit from Gram...) they slide the second bead. The morning questions are:
1. What can I expect from today?
2. What can I do to make today great?
3. What can I do for myself today?
I was hoping that these questions would first, allow them to put some sort of a frame around the day, second, give them the opportunity to understand their role in making the day what they want it to be, and third, remind them that some portion of the day ought to be set aside to do something purely selfish.
The evening questions are:
1. What made me happy today?
2. How did I help someone else today?
3. What am I looking forward to tomorrow?
I wanted them to look back on the day and focus on the bits that they enjoyed, the places where they chose to make a difference in someone else's day, and find a reason to get out of bed tomorrow.
So far, they are excited to ask the questions every morning and evening. I started out doing it with them but gradually I weaned them away from that. I want them to realize that these can be things they ask themselves anytime and their answers can be private if they want them to be. I don't want to be responsible for helping it along. I want it to become a habit of mindfulness. Eve and Lola each have rings especially made for them by me with their favorite colored beads and Lola, my tactile child, delights in sliding them back and forth as she asks and answers the questions. Eve, my tangible, love-treasures-I-can-hold child, sleeps with her bead ring under her pillow, her hand wrapped carefully around it.
As for me, I've found that asking myself the same questions is a powerful reminder, especially the notion that it is okay to do something purely for myself each and every day.