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Does your child need BPOD?

Posted by Dr. Claire McCarthy  March 4, 2014 08:41 AM

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It happens all the time. My 8-year-old, Liam, will have a perfectly fine day--a good one, even. He will have played with a friend, had hot cocoa and taken the dog for a walk with his dad. But when he gets into a fight with his sister and ends up being sent to his room to calm down, he'll say: "This is the worst day ever!"

Liam needs BPOD.

BPOD is a term coined by my dear friend, Dr. Wendy Sue Swanson. It stands for Best Part Of Day. It's a tradition she started in her family: every night at dinner, they go around the table and everyone says their best, most favorite part of the day. Dr. Swanson says that at this point, it has become part of their family language, and how they think about their days; when something fun or good happens to one of her two boys, like making a goal at a soccer game, he'll say, "This is my BPOD!"

I love this tradition. I love it because it teaches gratitude--and boy, is gratitude a good thing to learn. I also love it because it helps give perspective--and we need that desperately too.

Sure, not every moment of every day turns out the way we want. There are plenty of days, actually, when nothing seems to turn out the way we want. But if we make ourselves stop and think, we can always find something. It may be as simple as a great cup of coffee. Or a bus that came on time--and had a seat. Or a presentation that went better than expected. Or a smile from someone. Or a hug from someone we love. When we think about our BPOD, it can give us just the perspective on our day, and life in general, that we need.

Dr. Swanson has a new book. It's called Mama Doc Medicine, and it's full of advice and information that helps us have perspective--on all sorts of things, from fussy babies to tantrums to immunizations to that ever-elusive work-life balance. Check it out.

And think about starting BPOD in your house, or your own equivalent. You'll be teaching your child some important lessons--and it might just help you, too.

Here's a picture of Liam after finishing a particularly challenging Lego project. It was definitely his BPOD that day. 

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About MD Mama

Claire McCarthy, M.D., is a pediatrician and Medical Communications Editor at Boston Children's Hospital . An assistant professor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School and a senior editor for Harvard More »

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