Text Options for the Visually Impaired Font Size: a- A+ Color: A A A Revert 
Close vision bar
Open vision bar

Bucket Filling

Bucket Filling, Self-Esteem,

and Positive Thoughts


We  have buckets – buckets are similar to our self-esteem

    • When our bucket is low we feel bad/mad/sad/hurt/etc.

    • When our bucket is full we feel great/wonderful/good about ourselves


  • People can be bucket dippers or bucket fillers

    • Bucket dipping includes rumors, gossip, excluding others from games at recess, mean words (saying) and mean actions (doing) such as hitting, kicking, shoving, pushing, etc.


  • When people say mean things to us we must use our “lid”

    • There will always be kids who will say mean things (we all have probably done it at least once in our lives)

    • We must decide what is true and not true

    • I work really hard with kids to understand that their thoughts cause feelings

      • When someone says, “you are ugly” it is hard for us to not think it’s true

      • So we start to repeat this sentence in our head (even when others say it’s not true) because only we can control our thoughts

      • When we think “I am ugly. I am stupid. I can’t do it. etc.” we feelbad/mad/sad/hurt

      • In order to change this sad/mad/bad inside of us, we must change our thoughts

        • “I am beautiful. I have friends. People like me. I am good enough”

        • This helps us to feel better when others say mean words to us

        • This does not excuse or promote meanness, however my main focus is that the child it was said to is emotionally healthy and healed from any situation where mean words are said – this provides them with a healthy outlook, healthy coping skills, and a healthy perspective on any situation in life

      • Students can usually describe their own bucket and others’ buckets as full/empty, but students have a very difficult time putting a “lid” on their bucket and changing their thoughts


        Please see reverse side




When we put a lid on our bucket, we put up a boundary with others (I refer to this as a hula hoop around us when it comes to touching and with words)

    • When people are touching, hugging, poking, etc. us and we don’t like it, they are in our hula hoop or personal space

    • We must use our words and put a boundary – “please don’t poke me. I don’t like it. Stop doing it”

    • I talk with students about using a stern or strong voice. This does not have to be a mean voice with attitude

    • I use the example of putting a lid on our buckets to symbolize boundaries. Students need to set boundaries with their words if someone is saying or doing something we don’t like

    • When students feel annoyed, they are usually having their hula hoop invaded. Personal space, arguments (a disagreement that has a resolution), mean moments (mean words/actions that happen one time), and bullying (mean words/actions that happen many, many times to a targeted individual)are all different. Knowing the differences and how to solve them appropriately are best.

    • We practice during guidance how to use our stern voice to put a boundary up for others

      • “I feel sad when you say I am stupid. I don’t like it. Please don’t say it again to me.”

      • “I feel hurt when you say I am ugly. Do not say it again to me.”

      • “Please stop. I don’t like that”


Having your child identify strengths and positives within themselves is crucial to filling their own bucket. Children and adults need to feel proud, appreciated, and show kindness not only to others, but also to themselves