A valuable resource to help children who are moving into dysregulation (overwhelming stress) to have a tool to center them and keep their body and mind system in balance.
Sunshine sheets are also important as it helps the child understand that their history of negative life events does not define who they are and there are other aspects of their life and about them that were positive. Traumatized and stressed children tend to worry excessively about the future and obsess about the past. We want to help them modulate these strong feelings and sensations.
On the sunshine sheet, the youth worker helps the child develop a list of resources, such as safe people, safe faces, a special talent, a positive life event, a soothing experience in a child’s past, present and future. This also helps the child to retain positive memories when they work through the more intrusive traumatic memories.
It is really important when you do any memory work with children that you have a resource immediately available that they can serve as a resource for them. I would highly recommend that you do not revisit adverse childhood events without resources available that can linked them with a healthy pathway in the midst of sometimes very painful memories.
The sunshine sheet can be viewed everyday to help the conscious mind neutralize any negative life narratives that is stored in the child’s subconscious. The child can add to their sunshine sheet at any time and some of my youth would expand them into a large poster board.
Examples: Past: strengths, positive memories, learning a new skill (riding a bike), a loving family member, a childhood friend, a loving moment (fishing with grandpa) special occasions, safe places and safe faces, a cherished possession, ways they have survived difficult situations.
Present: strengths, safe places and safe faces, favorite activities, friends, soothing things, a skill, a hero, a caring adult in their live, a favorite hobby or activity, a passion, something unique about them, favorite school subject
Future: dreams, aspirations, goals, images of being successful, job or career, passions, graduating from school, making new friends, a safe haven, positive visualizations.