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Book Review: Have You Filled a Bucket Today?

Boy oh boy have I read some children’s books in my time as a nanny! This particular heartwarming book, ‘Have you filled a Bucket Today?’ has recently snuck up to claim number one spot. Why?? Well read on…

It’s ‘A guide to daily happiness for kids’ and I believe every child deserves to know what happiness is – don’t you?

The book is based on the concept of ‘Bucket Filling’ and the idea has gone global since the book was published in 2006. The book explains the concept, “All day long, everyone in the whole wide world walks around carrying an invisible bucket” and “you feel happy and good when your bucket is full, and you feel sad and lonely when your bucket is empty”. The concept encourages positive behaviour and shows readers how easy and rewarding it is to fill someone’s bucket by expressing kindness, appreciation and love. It also explores the concept of “bucket dipping” which is deemed a negative behavior. The examples used are - hurting, bullying, or ignoring someone. It uses simple but effective pictures to engage the children, and shows them what body language to watch out for when they are feeling a certain emotion.

I spotted this book in one of the kid’s bedrooms. I slowly flicked through the pages and knew straight away this was going to be one of the easiest ways to explain life’s most vital lessons. That night, I gathered the three children I nanny, and read the book with them, reviewing each page as we went. The examples that are provided in the book of how to be a wonderful bucket filler, definitely allowed the kids to understand how important and easy it is to make others feel welcomed and loved. The kids were sleepy after, but we had a bit of a chat about the book when I tucked them into bed. They showed me straight away that they could fill someone’s bucket with love when they squeezed me with a big goodnight hug. What better feeling than knowing they had begun to understand one of life’s most important lessons.

A few weeks later, as we went about our daily after school routine, Master J reached out, hugged me and said sadly, “Jess, my bucket’s feeling very empty today”. I sat down next to him and asked him what had happened at school today to make him feel like this. He replied, “My friends were being mean and they wouldn’t let me play with them…”. I knew at this point that he had picked up exactly the right language to express what had gone on. Six years old and he quoted this line from the book: “They may think they can fill their own bucket by dipping into someone else’s… but that will never work”.

I went home that night and quietly sat with a hot cuppa reviewing what I just heard… How amazing is it that one simple book can change the communication and understanding between you and your children or in my case – the nanny. It is a vital thing in today’s society to get your children to chat to you about what is happening in their life because “when you’re a bucket filler, you make your home, your school, and your neighborhood better places for all”. I feel this book demonstrates an easy way to discover more about your child’s emotions and discuss every day feelings over the dinner table, using a simple, insightful concept. Some hot tips I would suggest to talk about whilst reading the book: - Be in their shoes – think about their friendship groups - Talk about your own bucket and how their behavior affects your bucket - Make it an ongoing thing – practice techniques with them to become daily bucket fillers - Make a list of the things that fill and empty their bucket - Make a bucket filling journal (get them to record what happens on a daily basis) - Continuously refer to the concept if you think something is upsetting them

I am in love with this book and aim to read it to every single family I nanny, to help the children become expressive and speak up when something is wrong.

I hope you love it as much as I do!

This amazing book has many resources that you can use:

*Got another fantastic book you think we should know about? Let us know!

- Jessie Mitchell

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