parent by design:

day 5: help your child start the day the right way (part 1)

How to harness the power of positive psychology to help your kids (and you) start the day feeling happy and positive. 

have you ever noticed?

Can you remember the last time when you were in a bad mood?

They always seem to last a while, don't they?

When we're in a bad mood, almost everything else that happens seems to make our mood worse.

It's like your mind becomes a powerful magnet attracting more negative thoughts and feelings that make you feel worse.

But, why is that?

spirals of emotion

This is because your emotions tend to work in a spiral.

This means that the emotion you feel right now, this moment, actually helps to create the next emotion that you feel.

Feel grumpy and angry?  You are likely to notice something else that makes you feel grumpy and angry.

This works exactly the same for both negative and positive emotions.

upward spirals

Now we know that emotions work in a spiral, we can use this information to our advantage.

What we need is a catalyst, something to help spark an upward spiral of positive emotions.

And if we create that spark in the morning... then hopefully your child (and you) will continue to create and feel positive emotions throughout the day.

It certainly beats leaving the house in a grumpy mood.

positive emotions transform us

But it's not just about leaving the house in a good mood, positive emotions actually transform us, they make us more resilient, more resourceful, they improve our relationships and help us to be better versions of ourselves.

Here's a short interview with Dr Barbara Fredrickson where she talks about the benefits of positive emotions.

what we do

We were inspired to create something by the Facebook post we saw from Susan Parsons about how teacher Miss Judy greets the kids in her class.

We thought this would be a great way to have some fun just before the kids leave for school and to be the catalyst for an 'upward spiral'.

The kids get to choose an activity each day (it can't be the same activity as the day before).

We alternate the choice each day and you can download your copy below.

does it work?

Well the kids certainly enjoy it, they always make sure that we do this before we leave for school.

We enjoy it too, and we definitely leave the house each morning in good spirits.

It's a bit of fun, but we also know that we are helping our kids to have a happier more positive day- which is nice!

So print it off and put it in the kitchen or near the front door, somewhere it will be seen before you leave the house.


It's important to get into the habit of noticing your child displaying their character strengths and praising them for it.

We try and do this once a day.

As this is a nice, fun activity, you could praise them for their ZEST or HUMOUR.
Or, because they have tried something new you could praise their BRAVERY.