How Full is your Bucket? A book for kids

How Full is your Bucket? A book for kids

“How full is your bucket? For kids”

Read a brief review

In our house we’re struggling with the classic sibling conflicts – Master 7 wants to be left alone to play with 7 year old things and Miss 3.75 (the 0.75 is very important!) wants to do WHATEVER her big brother is doing!! She’s taken to answering questions regarding what would she like to eat, drink, do etc with “What Master 7’s eating/drinking/doing.”

Now, whilst imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, it can be a little smothering for the oldest! And on days when he’s tired, worried about things at school such as friendships, having to do dance (yuk), losing his hat (again) etc, his patience with his little sister runs thin.

I stumbled upon the book “How full is your bucket? For kids” at Master 7’s school.  It is the children’s version of the adult book “How full is your bucket?” by Donald O. Clifton & Tim Rath, a positive psychology book (more about this another time) about how engaging with other people in positive ways  not only assists them, but positively affects your own well being, health and relationships.

The kids book talks about having an invisible bucket above your head which “drips” or empties when negative interactions happen and fills with positive interactions.

My son identified strongly with the main character who is a boy with a little sister who wants to do what he’s doing! The “dripping” or bucket emptying interactions were a tough morning before school where everything seems to go wrong (haven’t we all had this?) and some kids being mean to him on the way to school.

By the time the main character gets to class his bucket is almost empty.  At this point some great emotional intelligence education comes in. The character secretly hopes his classmates will trip and fall because “that’s what it feels like when you have an empty bucket.” A light went on for my son about this. So often when children have ill feelings towards their peers, they think it means they are a horrible child. The message from this book is that we all feel this way sometimes, not because we are horrible people, but because our bucket is empty.

The next message in the book is that positive interactions, such as doing well at a test, your bucket starts to fill. But the really great message is that by helping others, being kind and considerate and having positive interactions with others, you not only fill up their bucket, you fill yours at the same time! This was another a light bulb moment for Master 7.

Brief review

So in brief this book is great for emotional development in school aged children (although Miss 3.75 loved it too). The messages are:

  1. We have emotional buckets that empty with negative interactions or when things seem to go wrong.
  2. When our buckets are nearly empty, we can have mean thoughts towards other people. These thoughts arise, not because we are horrible people, but because our buckets are empty.
  3. We fill these buckets with positive interactions or when things go well for us.
  4. Finally, when we are kind, thoughtful, and positive towards others we fill up their buckets and ours at the same time!

You can buy it at the for $15 with free postage.


Dr Sophie Reid