Narelle, Creator of the I CAN Journal
Tell us a little bit about you and your family...
I'm Narelle and I live in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire with my husband and our three children. We enjoy living here because we are surrounded by beautiful countryside, and often find ourselves going out for walks and just enjoying being outdoors. Our children aged 7,4 and 2 enjoy doing this too and it is when they are at their happiest because they can play and run freely. My children are definitely my motivation to get up and keep trying each day; I want to make them proud and I will do my best to make that happen.
I love quotes as I find them really inspiring. One of my favourites is "when life gives you a hundred reasons to break down and cry,
show life that you have a million reasons to smile and laugh". It really resonates with me personally, and I think it is so important to try and concentrate on the good things each and every day, even when the bad things may be overpowering.
What is your family's favourite way to spend time together?
We love playing games together because it gives us the opportunity to slow down and spend some quality time away from the TV and our phones. We are a bit limited to the ones we can do as a whole family as our youngest is only 2 but she joins in really well. Our favourites are snap, snakes and ladders and the ELC Golden Honey Bee Tree. We can spend hours playing together as it is great fun, and educational for the children too which is always a bonus!
How do you encourage your children to talk about their emotions?
I have found that my children have previously struggled to identify what an emotion actually means. Spending time describing emotions, explaining what they are and how each one can make someone feel, can be a useful tool when it comes to later discussing emotions if children have a better understanding of them and what they mean. I find using story book characters helps with this by asking "How does this character feel? How do you know?"
When talking about emotions I’ve learnt that doing an activity at the same time can often help. For instance, doing play-doh and asking some questions whilst playing will provoke a response without them feeling too overwhelmed because they have a distraction.
Sometimes my children struggle to verbally express how they are feeling so they prefer to write it down instead. This can be really helpful because they can process their thoughts and reflect back on them, and sometimes find that it is an easier way to express themselves.
Can you recommend a mindfulness activity for military children?
Creating a glitter bottle is a great mindfulness activity for children of all ages. They are soothing to watch and can help calm an anxious, stressed or angry child and gives them chance to have some time out relaxing. To make one you need a plastic bottle, glitter glue and warm water. Put a small amount of glitter glue in the bottom of a plastic bottle, add warm water to it and shake to dissolve the glitter glue. Wait for it to cool down then put the lid on tightly.
About the I CAN Journal
The I CAN Journal is a children’s positivity and well-being journal. It aims to support and develop children into becoming well rounded, happy individuals that can continually improve their skills, celebrate success and find joy in the smallest things from everyday life.
There is a strong focus on developing a growth mindset, meaning that children will realise that they can always improve. The journal features daily gratitude practice which allows children to be thankful for small things each day and will help to develop a positive mindset. Space for worries and fears also allows these to be addressed, whilst hopes and dreams can be worked towards.
Beautifully illustrated and designed throughout, and packed with inspirational quotes, it is the perfect engaging space for children aged 6-12 to realise their full potential and be the best that they possibly can.
Simple and quick to use, this journal is suitable for children of all abilities and has been designed with children who have additional needs in mind.