A guide for creating and using Happy Jars

Oct 16, 2018 | Things my kids teach me

Creating happy jars is always a firm favorite with adults and children alike. It is a great way to savor the good moments that happen, which helps train your mind to focus on the positive emotions, even at times when you are faced with challenging times.

In times of sadness, it can bring a positive relief

I remember a few years ago, it had been a particularly tough year, with illnesses, bereavements and other challenges. If it hadn’t been for our family happy jar, I would probably have ended the year with a negative attitude towards it. We like to empty our jar out in between Christmas and New Year as a family, and remember those key happy times throughout the year. When we emptied ours out that year, and started opening out the pieces of paper, I could feel my perspective shifting. I was able to remember the moments that brought joy, pride and love throughout that challenging year. It will bring you moments of “oh I’d forgotten that” or “wow, that was a really big achievement” or laughter – helping you have a positive mindset.

3 Simple steps to create your own Happy Jar

  1. Choose a jar. If it is a family happy jar you will need a larger jar. When I do this with groups of children in Happy Club, I have used plastic sweet jars (ebay is a great place to find some).
  2. Go to town on decorating the jars. Firm favorites are foam stickers, sequins, ribbon and feathers.
  3. Get some small pieces of paper that can be kept next to the jar with a pen, so that it is easy to write a moment down and pop it into the jar. We have different colour paper for each family member to use in our family happy jar (it makes it easy to separate them when we need a dose of happy stuff on a wobbly day).

5 Top tips for using your Happy Jar

  1. Keep the jar somewhere visible and easy to reach – so that everyone can join in with it.
  2. Remind everyone to write the good things down and pop them in jar, when they happen. “Let’s make sure we remember this, lets keep it safe in the happy jar”
  3. Have a regular family check-in, “who has something they want to pop in the jar?”
  4. When someone is having a wobble, empty the happy jar and remind them of all the positive things that they have achieved, or done.
  5. Enjoy reminiscing at the end of the year, and relive all the happier times together.


Teaching healthy habits for nurturing mental health

This is an easy, fun activity to do with all the family, which will begin instilling habits for happiness and emotional resilience for them to carry forward. I love hearing our little people saying “We need to put that in the Happy Jar” or “Can we look at all the things in the Happy Jar”.

Share your creations with me

When you have created yours, I’d love to see them. Take a photo, share it on social media and tag me!



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