Hey, y’all. It’s Monday, so let’s kick it off with a running start, shall we?
Almost a year ago, EV and I started a little daily routine we call ‘sunshine words’. It began partly because of TikTok, I’m not gonna lie. We happened on the lalaandkindcafe channel and absolutely loved watching strangers’ faces transform because of a compliment. But it was mostly because I know that my child is outgoing (compliments of her daddy and his never-met-a-stranger personality) and I really want to channel that natural tendency into kindness practices.
I really also needed to grow that natural tendency in myself. I’m the guiltiest when it comes to walking right by people because I’m bouncing about a billion thoughts around in my own head and not paying attention to anyone around me.
So sunshine words is a simple way I can both teach and learn with my girl, and I’d be lying if I didn’t tell you that the ratio of teaching and learning is about half and half.
Clearly mama had some things to learn.
It’s nothing huge – at some point during our morning routine, I’ll tell EV ‘I have some sunshine words for you’ or ‘here’s today’s sunshine words’ or something along those lines.
Then I absolutely pump her up. P. Diddy ain’t a hype man like mama is a hype man, y’all. I tell her how kind she is. How she was made to bring sunshine to the world around us. How she is a beautiful creation and every part of her is special and cherished.
I’ll pick out a recent accomplishment and tell her how I noticed her hard work on XYZ, and how I hope she is as proud as I am of what she did.
I just lay it all out there, and she absolutely lights up with joy. Now, she’s three and very much a sassy preschooler, so there are days when she’s too busy sobbing because it’s early and she suddenly hates purple socks and cannot bear to leave her toys at home, so timing this takes a little finesse.
Coming up with lots of original, meaningful compliments to kickstart this process can also be a challenge, but there are loads of resources on mindful parenting online, like this handy poster from MindfulMazing:
Next, EV gets space to speak her own sunshine. She’ll compliment me, but she’ll also bring up things she’s noticed about others. ‘Ms. Sarah has the best pink shoes! I want to tell her how much I like them’, ‘my Tia was SO nice to buy me a cake pop. I want to tell her that made me happy’. You get the idea.
So I encourage her to spread those sunshine words during the day. One way is through funny, silly little one-liners I share with her. And let me tell you – if you’ve ever tried to come up with funny one-liners or cute compliments for kids and managed to succeed, you’re my hero. I came up with a few, but I resorted to scouring the internets for more because my creativity ran short pretty quickly.
Turns out finding what is essentially clean pick-up lines appropriate for a preschooler to use on her friends is NOT easy. In the spirit of sharing, I put together some of our favorites on a little poster you can use if you’re doing something similar with your kiddos (download by clicking below).
I’m no expert, so I can’t speak to the long term impact of our little routine, but EV’s been absolutely blossoming, socially – she’s confident speaking to others and expressing positive emotions. She’s comfortable giving and receiving compliments, even with strangers. Obviously there’s a balance here (we still recognize and discuss that stranger danger is a thing) but giving her the tools to ‘share sunshine’ has done wonders for her development. It’s a whole job, and she takes it seriously.
What about your family? Do you have any special or unique routines to build habits and strengths in your kiddos?
Have a great week, friends!