Why write a book?
Once upon a time, well it was January actually, I remember that fact well because it was cold and I was a bit fed up and flat after all the fun of Christmas. So I met my blogging friend Becky in a cafe to try and get my creative energies flowing.
I’d been feeling a bit meh about work, I loved blogging about family life and travel and I couldn’t quite believe I could make a living writing, but I really, really missed the purpose I had as a teacher. Anyone else who has ever left that profession, or a similar caring profession, might know those guilty feelings.
Becky knows something of that because she has been a social worker and a therapist, so she suggested we write a book to give us a purpose, and bring some happy to the world.
Photo credit – Chloe from Picture Taker, Memory Maker
But WHY will it make me happier?
We’d both been sharing books that inspired us, as friends do, like Flip It and Happiness by Design. There were lots of books about happy living for grown ups. It struck us that there should be more books like that for children – about how happiness really works. Happiness by Design explained WHY things worked and was backed up by research, it was the first book about being our happiest as humans that made me change some things.
Anyone who has ever spent time with kids will know they ALWAYS want to know WHY. And that is brilliant, and right, and I don’t know about you but since I was small, unless a label or instruction explains WHY I should do something, I resent doing it, and sometimes it even triggers my inner rebel and I do the opposite.
So we started scribbling a list of things we know make us happier, things our parents taught us, things we’d read in our growing library of books about happiness, things we’d tried with our own children, or seen online.
And we captured them in a book, because when you are feeling meh, miserable, blue, low or just not very happy, the last thing you remember is the little things you need to do that make you happier. Believe me, I suffer from time to time with SAD and only through an NHS phone CBT course have I learned to blooming well reorganise my life to prioritise the good stuff.
7-11 is a great age to instill happy tools
Children are naturally pretty happy beings, but it’s not always that way. The Children’s Society Annual Report in 2017 showed that children’s happiness is at it’s lowest since 2010 and NSPCC research shows that mental health referrals rose by a third in 2017. Anyone who has had any experience with children’s mental health services will know how in crisis they are, if they exist at all…a ‘dearth of services’ is how our GP described them when I happened to mention the book I was writing.
7-11 is the great age to instill lots of happy tools. Although, every adult we have shown the book to says it is great reminder and reference for adults too. The idea was simply to bring lots of happy tools together in a fun accessible way, so you could definitely dip in and explore together with younger children or repackage ideas for teens. We’re working on a teen version…
Happiness is a Superpower
Emotional resilience, digital resilience are key concepts in education and parenting, building resilience is key to raising happy kids who can navigate our modern world and all the amazing opportunities it offers. Scientists reckon about 40% of our happiness is within our control. We think that’s amazing and that is why teaching kids that Happiness is a Superpower is so important.
Have a sneak peak inside…
The book has a very varied range of activities…they are all structured in the same way to help children discover how happiness works.
You can scribble on them, colour them in, work through ideas in them. The book has three sections, one about making yourself happy, one about making others happy and one about making the word happy. The range of activities we found for the book that can help build happiness is pretty phenomenal, from inventing, to mindfulness, breathing, being braver, building confidence, appreciating nature, sending a letter, philosophising, including someone or giving a compliment.
The book has been illustrated by the super talented Clare Forrest, and we absolutely love how she has brought the ideas to life. The fab team at Harper Collins gave it a good tidy up and made it look super on the page and are a lovely creative, happy bunch to work with.
Naming Your Feelings is a Game Changer
Over on Your Tube I am talking about back to school feelings, for parents and children and how a really simple exercise from the book helped me to deal with the swarm of emotions this week.
Create Your own Happy – Published Thursday 6th September 2018.
Check out the Collins site to order Create Your Own Happy and download some lovely free resources too.
We’re so grateful to some of our amazing blogging friends who are sharing some of the activities in the book on their blogs over the next couple of weeks. Do check them out – we know they are going to make the ideas in our head look even more awesome and can’t wait to see what happens when children get their hands on the books!
Over on our CYOHappy instagram we’re running a monthly instachallenge of happy prompts using the hashtag #CYOHappy throughout September – please join in and create some extra happy!
Also look out for our happy rocks which could pop up anywhere from now onwards, thanks to another army of blogging buddies.
We’ll be celebrating with a Twitter party on Thursday 6th from 11am #CYOHappy @CYOHappy
And if you’re a blogger at Blog On conference, we’ll be speaking there about getting a book published later this month.
Thanks so much already for all the phenomenal support and encouragement, please help spread the happy like jam #CYOHappy
Lots of love and happy,