Preparing children to be brave when things are continuing to change

During this time of lockdown and social distancing many things have come to light, certain qualities in particular, such as optimism and hope for the future are some of the character qualities we as a family have been discussing. Hope that things will become easier for everyone and that we will return to some kind of normality.

As time starts to unfold and doors open allowing us to be able to go back to work and for some parents to send their children back to school - there has been some uncertainty for us all about how we feel about this and what impact this will have on our children’s wellbeing.

Taking the next step

Taking these next steps to spend more time with people outdoors has been a welcome relief for many, in particular I have felt a great sense of relief seeing my children playing outside kicking a ball around with friends, or running up and down the beach at full speed. I have felt a sense of hope and an uplifting optimism that despite some of the difficult things that are happening around the world, I truly believe that humanity will endeavour to do the right thing and support our local and world wide communities in the best way it can. Having hope and optimism to believe that things will change and avoiding a focus on the negative, where things can seem quite bleak, can help change happen - help us feel motivated and positive.

Taking the next steps into work and school may take a lot of courage for some people; they may be worried about the impact on home life as well as the prospect of becoming unwell. Having to navigate a work place or school environment under new social distancing measures may be daunting as well as exhausting for may people. But for some people coping with these challenges is about developing a quiet determination, hope and optimism that we must move forward because we can’t stay behind closed doors forever.

It has been interesting to hear the various views on how things should be and how we should move forward. One thing that is for certain is that we have had to practice patience; our children have had to be patient and hopeful about seeing their friends again.

Optimism activities to try at home

Taking the time with my children to look at Optimism and hope has had an increasingly positive impact on them and their wellbeing. Focusing on the positive, thinking about the things we love and our future, having that positive growth Mind-set - can set you up for the day thinking completely differently, changing how you might have been feeling - what is it I can do not what I can’t?

We spent some time on an activity about optimism, really exploring what this word means and what it looks like to both to my 8 and 11 year old children. Have a look at the Character Tree card on ‘Optimism’ below, to start a discussion with your own family. Each week I am using my Character Tree cards with my children, they pick a character quality/virtue and then we discuss and reflect on what it means. How does optimism make us feel positive about the future, what are you looking forward to, what are you enjoying now, what do we appreciate? What makes you feel happy, calm? Remember it doesn’t have to be anything big.  


Character Tree Cards created by Shona Pye are available here.


Activity – The Optimistic Octopus

Spend some time thinking about what Optimism looks like at home and in our community.

  • How does it make us feel when we think about the positive things in our lives or feeling hopeful about something in the future?
  • Try looking at the positive in situations even when they are hard.
  • This can be really difficult sometimes but it has a way of changing your mind-set for the day and seeing new positive opportunities.

Now it’s time to create your own optimistic octopus.

  • Draw the octopus or use the template provided.
  • Using the questions above write down how you feel, what makes you feel optimistic and hopeful?


Download optimistic octopus template

Even as adults it is good for us to spend time on these positive activities for our own well-being during these difficult times. Here is the Optimistic Octopus my husband did.

Having gone through this process with our children we have now spent time thinking about the positives and the things we are hopeful for, giving us a more optimistic view on our weeks ahead. How do you feel after exploring Optimism?







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