Updated: Jun 22
Fall is finally here! Soon the leaves will be changing, and we will be transitioning into the holiday season. It is the perfect time to use this game that is focused on thankfulness. Thankful Heart is a new counseling game with a Thanksgiving theme yet can be used year-round to encourage positive thinking. The questions focus on developing a growth mindset, kindness, friendship building skills, and classic CBT skills to encourage positive thinking.
Children frequently develop an external locus of control, meaning they believe that forces outside of themselves drive their lives. They feel at the mercy of others and situations. With some training, they can develop an internal locus of control, which means they believe they have control over their lives. The growth mindset cards were created to help make children aware of ways they can set goals, problem solve, and achieve their dreams.
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Our society is quickly falling away from being encouraging and kind. Kids can be cruel, choosing to roast a friend rather than build them up. Offering encouragement and kindness can feel awkward and uncomfortable to children who are not used to it. The kindness cards are included to help children look for the good in others and to point it out in a friendly way. This shifts thoughts away from what is wrong with everyone else to what is right.
The “Pick Your Patch” cards focus on developing healthy friendships. Children will often fall into a group of friends and will not be intentional about paying attention to the character of the other kids. These cards help them become aware of how to set boundaries, characteristics to look for in healthy friendships, and to challenge maladaptive ideas of what is important in relationships. When children are in an encouraging, safe atmosphere, they are better able to thrive.
The “Squash Negative Thoughts” cards teach cognitive behavioral skills to stop ruminating, irrational, or simply negative thoughts and to focus on positive thoughts. Some people tend to think the worst. Their negative outlook leads to feeling out of control and hopeless at times. However, this negative tendency can shift by deliberate focus on positive thoughts. Over time automatic thoughts can shift from negative to positive.
I hope you enjoy this light-hearted, encouraging game. It will be a nice addition to your counseling toolbox to pull out during the Thanksgiving season, as well as throughout the year when you see a kiddo struggling with negative thoughts. It is amazing how quickly children pick up on new skills when they are introduced through play.