Written by Penny Alexander and Becky Goddard-Hill, Create Your Own Happy is a beautifully illustrated activity book with a nod to self-help. Aiming to empower children with the skills and knowledge that will enable them to boost not only their own happiness and self esteem but that of those around them as well.
As the old saying goes,
“Tell me and I will forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn”
It’s all well and good telling our kids what they can do to be happy or to improve their self esteem but Becky and Penny’s book gives them practical activities and solutions to encourage them to get out there and do it themselves, as well as telling them why it works, thus developing lifelong tools to support their own mental well-being.
I love the warm, friendly tone of the book – it’s engaging and easy to read, making it feel completely accessible.
Create Your Own Happy is primarily aimed at children age 7-11 (so KS2 or ‘Juniors’ in old money!) I have two children who fit neatly into that age bracket, Ben is 9 and now in Year 5, Chloe is 7 and has just started Year 3. For the most part they are bright, happy children – they’re positive, flexible and resilient. But more recently, Chloe has started to be a bit fed up without really being able to explain why. She told me she was worried about moving into the Juniors (our school is split site so the move to Juniors means a different building down the road!) but other than that doesn’t seem to have been able to articulate what’s getting her down. I feel very conscious of the need to help her deal with her low mood without making a lot of fuss so Create Your Own Happy has arrived at the perfect time for us!
The book is organised into three parts – Part One is about making yourself happy, Part Two is about making other people happy and finally Part Three is a about creating a happier world. And whilst you could sit down and read it cover to cover, trying out each activity in turn, you are equally able to dip in and out of the book as and when you fancy, picking out the ideas and suggestions which appeal to you. As well as suggesting activities, Penny and Becky explain why these activities work and also ask you to look back on them to see how effective they were for you in the “so how do it go” section after each activity. This reflective thinking is an important skill – particularly when it comes to developing life-long strategies for happiness. It’s important we know what works for us!
As part of the Create Your Own Happy book tour, Penny and Becky asked us to try out a specific activity:
10. Learn to Relax
Relaxation isn’t something I think we’re very good at these days – we tend to associate it with doing nothing don’t we? I know that even when I’m watching TV I’ve probably got my phone in my hand scrolling social media or when I’m reading a book I’m worrying that I should be cleaning the house. We would all benefit from taking the time to slow down and relax and this activity teaches you to do just that – in a short space of time and with no equipment. Create Your Own Happy teaches a breathing technique for relaxation which involves counting and taking increasingly slower breaths – even sitting at my desk and doing it I can feel it is almost immediately calming and would be a great technique to use in a stressful situation, for example before starting work on a test at school. Create Your Own Happy focuses on the need to try and completely relax without the distractions of the television or other screens as whilst they might stop us from thinking about things which have made us sad or cross, they don’t allow our brains to switch off and completely relax.
Chloe found the breathing technique really tricky but did realise that it was trying to make her breathe more slowly. Once you’ve learned and practised the breathing technique, Create Your Own Happy provides a space for you to draw your favourite place to relax or something you might think about to help you relax before explaining how important it is to take time to relax regularly.
We love Create Your Own Happy. I think it’s a wonderful resource which enables young people to take control of their own happiness, equipping them with means to take care of their own emotional health well into the future.
If you’d like to have a look at what other bloggers thought of the Create Your Own Happy book and the activity they tried out, then have a look at Create Your Own Happy book tour dates below (I’ve added clickable links underneath for ease!)
6th September: Create Your Own Happy Jar
7th September: Create a Laughter Kit
8th September: Be a Happiness Philosopher
9th September: Give Compliments
10th September Learn to relax
11th September Create New Life with Seed Bombs
12th September Use Music to change your mood
13th September Learn about another culture
14th September Making a calm down jar
15th September Invent a solution
16th September Saying thank you
17th September Snail Mail
18th September Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
19th September Upcycling!
*I received a copy of Create Your Own Happy free of charge for the purpose of review however all thoughts and opinions remain my our own. This post contains affiliate links*