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6 coloured hats for parents and children



What colour hat should you and your children be wearing for Hat Day?


One way to look at this is what mood are you in?


Are you feeling positive and sunny or cautious and concerned?


Are you stuck in the detail of everyday life or implementing a positive New Year resolution?


Edward de Bono, is someone that had an ingenious idea to help. He came up with 6 different coloured hats to help people understand how they were feeling and how they could change that.


Often in families people have moods and emotions that can get in the way of open discussions. Sometimes people think their views are being ignored or their feelings are being trampled on. Have you been trying to talk to a moody teenager? The hats may help you.


The coloured hats are a communication tool. They are great for helping children to speak up and understand their own emotions, but also for parents to set good examples and share caring and helping thoughts. Guess what? They are also used amongst adults in big corporations.


Using De Bono’s 6 coloured hats helps to create a discussion where everyone’s views can be voiced, but in a way that is not personal, just part of an emotional safe process.


How to do it?


Make up some cards in each of the 6 colours, or get 6 coloured hats and use them to manage discussions This will give the children room to tell you how they feel, whilst creating a space for parents to encourage other options and thoughts in the kids minds, without resorting to telling them they are wrong.


The six coloured hats are as follows


  • White Hat – put this hat on first. It is an information gathering hat – finding out about what the kids have been doing at school, how they are getting on. What are their test scores, how many friends do they have in class etc. But make sure they understand that it’s just as facts, not emotions. Those will come next.


  • Red Hat – this hat is about feelings and emotions – finding out about how they are feeling about school and life in general once you have gathered the information. This allows them to express their feelings, but without any justification or prejudice from other family members.


  • Yellow Hat – this hat is probably the most important. It is the positive, sunny It is for finding the positives in any situation and always used before the negative black hat that comes next. Find out what the kids like about school and life, what makes them happy and what they enjoy doing, with whom. If they focus on positive things first, when they come to the negatives, they won’t seem so strongly negative any more as they will be balanced by more positive thoughts already there.


  • Black Hat – this is the challenge hat. What’s wrong and why? Many people default to this hat in daily life and the news and media generally look at things in this negative way. Used carefully it helps inform, but overused it can lead to very negative attitude to life. So make sure the black hat is well balanced by the yellow hat every day.


  • Green Hat – this hat is all about creative thinking and imagination. What ideas can we all come up with to build on the yellow positives, fix the black hat negatives and think of new ways to do things


  • Blue Hat – finally the blue hat is the hat for decisions and conclusions – have we sorted things out, what are we going to do and who is going to do it and when?


This is more than a one-off. Used whenever there is an issue, or simply as a get together talking tool, it can become a way of discussing things between parents and kids for years and in some families people even say “stop being so black hat about hat, let’s get green thinking going”!