Positive Psychology for Children: a Guide to Wellbeing

What Children Need to be Happy, Confident and Successful: Step by Step Positive Psychology to Help Children Flourish provides a practical introduction to the psychology of wellbeing. The book  explores the essential elements of a good childhood.  It combines the clear messages from Positive Psychology research with a step by step guide to everyday activities which will make a positive impact on wellbeing.

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The book is a guide to The Flourishing Programme which I have developed in my work as a child psychologist. The programme has at its heart the belief that each child is unique and special and depends on adults to help them achieve their potential.  When you prepare children for life you are lighting a fire not filling a bucket.  A child is unique and special from day one and will strive to find what works for them and what excites their passions.  We need their motivation and energy to come from within rather than be driven by fear or the hunger for rewards and recognition.  When you tune into the child and look carefully what you see and hear will be your guide to nurturing their potential.

As the world becomes a busier and more complicated place we need children to be safe but we also want them to be confident and able to live life to the full.  Children see so many possibilities around them that they become confused and unsure what is expected or possible.  A recent report from the Children’s Society identified that more than 1 in 10 children are unhappy with their lives.  Increasing numbers of children with anxiety and depression are being referred to specialist services.  The book explores how families and professionals in daily contact with children can prevent mental health difficulties and nurture wellbeing to create resilience and strong self belief and .

The key to a child’s wellbeing is their confidence that they have the skills they need for what is expected of them right now.  This is not just the skills they learn but also how adults ensure that expectations are fair, realistic and age appropriate.  There is increasing evidence that we are expecting too much too soon which creates unnecessary stress and disappointment.  So how can we adjust our expectations without studying endless textbooks about child development?  A good place to start is by looking and listening to your child to see what they are interested in and ready for.  Their energy, enthusiasm and excitement are a guide to whether we are lighting that inner fire or treating them like an empty vessel to fill up as we please.

Every child is unique and each child has their own strengths and potential.  Make a mental note of everything you know about them? Who are they and what fires their enthusiasm.  Nurturing wellbeing is about enabling the child to find themselves and feel enthused and confident about the opportunities life has to offer.  Children who know they are accepted for themselves grow in confidence and in their willingness to experiment and try new things.  Acceptance cancels out anxiety about performance and fear of the unknown.

The Flourishing Programme creates a framework you can rely on to guide you and help you identify what is working well for your child and what needs support.  The First Steps to Flourishing Questionnaire covers all 5 core areas of wellbeing and gives you sign posts of healthy development in the key areas of personal strengths, emotional wellbeing, positive communication, learning strengths and resilience. Each section of the programme guides you to build the child’s strengths and to create an environment which helps them make good choices.

If you would like to take a further look around to find out more do explore this blog but also if you visit a certain online bookstore their look inside feature allows you to read sections of the book. http://www.amazon.co.uk/What-Children-Happy-Confident-Successful/dp/1849052395/ref=ntt_at_ep_dpt_1 I’d love to know what you think. Please leave a comment.

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About hooperj

I am a child psychologist and wellbeing coach and author of What Children Need to be Happy, Confident and Successful: Step by Step Positive Psychology to Help Children Flourish which is published by Jessica Kingsley Publishers.
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