“Happiness doesn’t result from what we get, but from what we give”- Ben Carson
How are you, my friends? I hope this post finds you and your family well. I imagine you are also coping with the worries of coronavirus. Today, with the help of Francesca – founder of The Happy Self– we will focus on how we can help our kids through these uncertain times and give our children the foundations for a happy and balanced life.
Francesca is a creative mum and productivity consultant that back in 2017 realized that some of the strategies that she used with her clients (digital resilience, mindfulness, mental health) could also benefit kids that are growing up stressed. She completed an online course at the University of California, learned about the growth mindset concept developed by different schools and spoke to experts in child psychology and education before creating The Happy Self, a simple daily journal for kids (aged 6 to 12).
The Happy Self is based on scientifically proven methods that promote happiness, develop healthy habits for life and nurture enquiring minds. Isn’t that what we all want for our kids? The journal is beautifully illustrated, fun, engaging, child-friendly and easy to use and available in several languages (English, Spanish, Portuguese, German, Dutch…). It is undated, so it does not matter if you skip a date, as you can start whenever you want and use it weekly if you prefer.
Each page of the journal includes three sections for kids to fill out:
- an inspirational quote to help kids be positive and strong
- Top Three Things. A daily gratitude practice for children
- Emoji of the day. A reflection of the day’s feelings
The journal allows children to express their emotions, reflect on the importance of gratitude and kindness, increase their self-esteem, promote a positive and growth mindset attitude and improve their concentration. I cannot recommend it enough!
Francesca is also the founder of The Curious Parent Podcast and blog, where she explores with great guests how we can best prepare our kids for what lies ahead: how to develop healthy study habits, raising organized kids, helping our children understand themselves, and how to raise world ready kids.
I thought you might enjoy getting to know Francesca better. I find her vision, ideas and projects fascinating and I am grateful that she accepted to share with World Kids this interview:
What are you working now on? Do you plan to work on any other project with your kids?
I am very excited to be working on a teen edition of the journal – of course, my daughter who is now 14 is providing very useful feedback so we are very much keeping this a family project. I am also working on a few continuation editions for the current journal so that kids who have finished one can keep going with something new.
You have a wonderful and close relationship with your kids. What has surprised you most about motherhood?
Wow, what a question. I don’t think anyone could ever prepare you for it. I think I have been most surprised by my capacity for unconditional love. And nobody could have warned me about how tired new parents actually are!!
Which are your favorite children’s books?
I love books and one of the things I looked forward to most when mine were born was being able to read them children’s books! Some of their favorites are my old favorites too that have passed through the family. Top of the list would have to be Mog the Forgetful Cat by Judith Kerr, Oh The Places You’ll Go by Dr. Seuss and anything by Richard Scarry. I also love how some children’s books like The Northern Lights by Philip Pullman or Harry Potter by JK Rowling cross the line and are equally loved by adults.
Your best trip ever.
As a family, our best trip was a road trip we did a few summers ago (actually it was the summer we launched the journal!) driving up to Sweden. We had rented a house on an island near Stockholm and met up with my brother and family. It was a hot, dry summer and the weather couldn’t have been better for lazy days by the lake and exploring the island on foot. There was only one shop and no cars so it was a real adventure for us all. It was a beautiful combination of perfect weather, family time and a beautiful natural setting.
What shops, museums, hotels, and restaurants would you recommend to families visiting your city?
We live in a very rural part of the UK so the tourism near us is very outdoor based. Family favourites near us include: Mountain Biking in Bedgebury, visiting the beautiful gardens at Sissinghurst Castle, going to the beach at Camber Sands, the Milk House in Sissinghurst is our nearest pub and we love their garden in the summer because it has a fresh pizza oven.
What advice would you give to raise happy and positive kids?
This is a challenge I am very interested in! The journal was my own reaction to this and as a family, we like to be mindful about healthy habits that support our health and wellbeing – so time to rest and daydream as well as plenty of time outdoors being active, eating well and getting enough sleep. We are also quite strict about screen time and making sure that technology is always used in a very positive way and that there is enough switch-off time in everyone’s day. I think much of it comes from the parents and often we need to look at our own habits first.