Compassion is about noticing suffering, including our own, and being moved to alleviate it. Amid their busy schedules, children and teens may not always notice when they are suffering–stressed, overwhelmed, or sad–or they may ignore their own suffering as they march forward to meet the demands of their lives.
One way to help children and teens develop self-compassion is by encouraging them to make time to explore their interests and engage in activities they enjoy through the use of a Pleasant Events Calendar. You can think of it as a form of self-care for kids. Here’s how to do it:
- Reflect: Encourage your child or teen to write down a list of activities they enjoy doing. These can include hobbies, things they do by themselves, or things they do with friends and/or family.
- Schedule: Help your child or teen identify time slots on the calendar when they can do one or two of the activities.
- Track: Place the calendar in a visible location and help your children track the activities by adding a sticker or checkmark when they are completed.
Eve M. Adams., Ph.D., New Mexico State University
Karen Bluth, Ph.D., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill