Filling Your Child’s Emotional Bucket


Have you ever heard of the book How Full Is Your Bucket?


I gave this book to my daughter a few years ago in hopes to increase her self esteem and the concept has fortunately stuck with both of my children! The basic idea is that we all have an emotional bucket and in any given moment, we have the opportunity to fill up someone’s bucket or empty someone’s bucket.

We fill up buckets with kindness, appreciations, positive words, encouragement etc. and we empty buckets by using put downs, insults, teasing and negative thoughts.

It is such a creative way to help children understand that their words and actions affect others more than they sometimes realize.

We can fill up buckets in a casual way, but I also think that it is fun to do it in a more tangible way as well!


Here is an idea….

Set aside some time one day to decorate an actual bucket for everyone in your family. If you don’t have buckets, you can purchase them at the Dollar Store OR you can even decorate a brown paper bag.

Print off this FREE Printable (black & white) or this one for colour and at least once a day, fill your child’s bucket by giving them an appreciation or some words of encouragement. When your child is feeling down, they can simply read through their bucket of appreciations, put ups and words of encouragement to help them raise their spirits. If your child cannot yet read, take the opportunity for some snuggle time while you read them together.

Free Printables:

Or if you would like to write your own kind words to fill your child’s bucket, you can use this FREE Template:

If you are using the blank template, here are some ideas for you to get started…

Words of Appreciation:

You fill up my bucket when you do your family contribution at the dinner table.
You fill up my bucket when you smile at me.
You fill up my bucket when you give me a hug.
You fill up my bucket when you get along with your sibling.
I appreciate it when you get ready for school nicely.
I appreciate it when you keep your room tidy.
You fill up my bucket when you make healthy food choices.
You fill up my bucket when you do household chores just because.
You fill up my bucket when you share with your sibling.

Words of Encouragement:
You are very kind.
You are very special.
You are very important to me.
You make me smile.
You are strong.
You have so much love to give.
You are thoughtful.
You are respectful.
You are awesome.
You are loving.
I love you.
You are a hard worker.
You are giving.
You are healthy.
You are a good friend.
You are funny!
I love your jokes.
I love your hugs.
Your pictures that you draw make me happy.

Here’s a question for you:
What do your children do that fill YOUR bucket?


Let’s make this the longest list of kindness and appreciation ever!
Leave a comment with your idea for a “bucket filler”!



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13 Responses to Filling Your Child’s Emotional Bucket

  1. Jen Farr says:

    We love this book. I remember when my girls’ first read it and they jumped right on board with filling everyone’s buckets…and being sure not to be a bucket dumper.

    • Awesome Jen! I just don’t like it when I hear them saying “you’re a bucket dumper”! Makes me so sad and kind of makes them a bucket dumper at the same time b/c they are giving a put down.

  2. I don’t know this book, but would have liked to get my hands on it when my daughter was younger. I love the tactile connection to the message with the buckets – this is very powerful! Thanks so much for sharing!!

  3. My daughter has learned about this in kindergarten and is always saying she’s filling buckets. Great printable!

  4. Lovely idea! I think kids are very visual and imaginative, so this approach sounds perfect!

  5. Victoria Ess says:

    What a great idea! I would love to get this for my niece.

  6. Cheryl says:

    I really like this idea for my boys. 🙂

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