Life sure does have its share of ups and downs!
Sometimes, they clearly come from outside life events. Yet, other times it’s the subtle nudges we get throughout the day, without even realizing it, that triggers our mood swings.
One way to help children manage these highs and lows is to teach them how to notice the little things they do throughout the day that may fill or empty their own buckets as well as the buckets of their friends and loved ones.
Now, what do I mean by filling and emptying buckets? This notion comes from a book called, How Full is Your Bucket? For Kids by Tom Rath and Mary Reckmeyer. The story explains that everyone has an invisible bucket—when it’s empty they feel bad, but when it’s full they feel good. The story proceeds to bring the reader through everyday occurrences that may empty someone’s bucket and others that fill their buckets. It also highlights the fact that often times when someone’s bucket is empty, they tend to spread the misery by doing things that empty other people’s buckets. Yet, when someone feels good and has a full bucket, they are more likely to do things that fills other people’s buckets.
This simple notion is a great way to discuss how to manage a variety of feelings with children. Though external events or other people can deplete our buckets, we have the power to refill them ourselves. In fact, we can refill our own buckets by helping to fill others!
We’ve created some helpful printables below so that you can explore these ideas more deeply with the children in your lives.
BOOKS TO INSPIRE
- How Full is Your Bucket? For Kids by Tom Rath and Mary Reckmeyer
- One by Kathryn Otoshi
- Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes
- The 100 Dresses by Eleanor Estes
- Be a Bucket Filler – Encourage your children to brainstorm ways they can fill and empty their own and other people’s buckets.
- What Fills My Bucket? – Find a little bucket or pouch, cut out the blank strips, and invite your child to brainstorm things that fill their buckets. During challenging times, come back to these and empower your child to take charge of their bucket!
- Filler or Dumper? – See below
- Filler or Dumper Cut-Outs – Cut-out and review the everyday occurrences with your child. Decide if they are bucket fillers or bucket dumpers and glue them in the appropriate column on the Filler or Dumper printable above.
MORE TO EXPLORE
- If you enjoy this learning experience, make sure to checkout our Put-Up and Put-Down lesson.
- It’s also helpful to explore, Glass Half Full: The Power of Positive Thinking.