“I’m Having a Human Day”: How to Help Kids Reframe and Practice Self-Compassion | Deborah Farmer Kris | 4 Min Read

When I was a kid, my favorite picture book was “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.” Alexander starts the day with gum in his hair and ends it with lima beans for dinner, soap in his eyes, a marble down the drain and railroad-train pajamas (and he hates his railroad-train pajamas). His day was the pits, and I couldn’t look away.

I recently read this book to my own kids. Snuggled in bed, they giggled and moaned in all the right places. And then I got to that brilliant last page, where author Judith Viorst puts a sun-kissed bandage on Alexander’s emotional scrapes: “My mom says some days are like that. Even in Australia.”

I am not Alexander anymore. I am the subject in my kids’ “My mom says…” Viorst reminds me that my words will become part of their mental script as they navigate no good, very bad days.

Kids’ internal chatter is not always kind. I’m a teacher, too. You can see the critical self-talk on students’ faces when they get a bad grade or forget their lines or miss a basket or face a social rejection. It’s the…

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Deborah Farmer Kris

A writer, teacher, parent, and child development expert, Deborah Farmer Kris writes regularly for PBS KIDS for Parents and NPR’s MindShift; her work has been featured several times in The Washington Post; and she is the author of the All the Time picture book series (coming out in 2022) focused on social-emotional growth. A popular speaker, Deborah has a B.A. in English, a B.S. in Education, and an M.Ed. in Counseling Psychology. Mostly, she loves finding and sharing nuggets of practical wisdom that can help kids and families thrive — including her own. You can follow her on Twitter @dfkris, contact her at [email protected], or visit her website: Parenthood365 (https://www.parenthood365.com/)