Editor’s Note: This month, Megan Stewart and Mary Croxford team up to discuss Kindness and Friendliness. As a special bonus, they are giving away a Helping Hands chart from Brite Music! Giveaway details are below!
We love focusing on this value and feel if we all worked on being kind, it would take care of many unpleasant problems that arise from the opposite responses.
Mary: This month has been crazy already. What is it about May? For us it has been the mad rush of the end of school, soccer, church activities, pushed back bedtimes (due to the sun coming up later–the kids are having a harder time falling asleep, which results in a harder time getting everyone up and going in the morning). In fact, the word s l o w m o t i o n comes to mind and unfortunately we hear ourselves repeating “hurry, hurry” over and over! Also, as many of you already know, with the kids feeling more tired in the morning, their attitudes shifted from the usual pleasantness to complaining, teasing and bickering! Something had to be done!
So when I sat down to read the value, I had an idea. I had recently heard about a mother using a clicker to get herself to focus on positive thoughts so I decided to use a clicker for the value this month and boy it worked beautifully! Here’s how I did it.
As usual, we sat our kids down and talked about the monthly value, kindness and friendliness. We discussed different ways we can show kindness and friendliness to others – family, friends and strangers. I showed them the clicker. I told them that when I noticed behavior that demonstrates the value “kindness and friendliness” I would click. They could not tell me to click; it would be just when I noticed things. My kids loved this. Our morning DRAMATICALLY changed! They loved seeing the number go up on the clicker. It’s amazing how a little focus can really make a huge difference. Accentuating the positive begets more and more positive.
Megan: A tool that we found useful that we’ve been using this month is the “Helping Hands” chart from Brite Music.
Each person has a hand that moves up the chart when others notice them doing kind deeds. It’s worked beautifully for our kids and has given them a good visual of the progress that they are making. Something else that my hubby and I have talked about trying is taking a day or two to let them move one another’s hands on the chart so they can obtain a different perspective of kindness and friendliness from the receiving end of it.
Kindness and friendliness are habits that require action. If we focus more on them, it becomes easier for us to notice others and ways we can be kind and friendly. Simple things, like opening a door for someone, returning a grocery store cart or grabbing one from someone who is finished unloading to their car, sending off an email of gratitude to a teacher or friend, smiling and saying hello (this is fun to do in an elevator). All these ideas are easy for us to do and for a child to do, as well. Make it a contest when you’re out to see who can notice the most opportunities to reach out with kindness.
A small note about the Internet: it is a SUPER tool to take advantage of and reach out as well as to teach your children to use it in the same way. How easy is it to say something nice to someone or lend some kind words of encouragement or support? It’s fast and convenient to make a small effort to reach out to someone you might not otherwise have the opportunity to do so.
We love to read books and some of our favorites are:
- The Spiffiest Giant in Town
- The Rainbow Fish
- The Kings’ Highway
- Horton Hears a Who
- Charlotte’s Web
- Why Christmas Trees Are Not Perfect and How The Grinch Stole Christmas (I know they’re seasonal but we never tire of Christmas around here!)
- The Giving Tree
- The Snail and the Whale
- Lots of Berenstain Bear books
Some great movies:
- The Blind Side
- Elf (I know, more Christmas!)
- Emperor’s New Groove
Some great CD’s from Brite Music:
- Show A Little Love-this cd has lots of songs about kindness & friendliness
- I Have A Song For You Volume 1 – songs 3 & 4
As we were sitting here writing this article we started discussing how great it is to reach out to others, strangers as well as old friends. So we have decided to extend this challenge not only to ourselves and families tonight at the dinner table, but also to you:
CHALLENGE: Reach out in various ways this month by stopping by to visit someone or inviting someone into your home, talk to someone new you haven’t spoken with before at school, church or another activity, take the time to leave a comment on someone’s blog or website you are following or on Facebook and encourage your kids to do the same. (Texting is so easy too.)
QUESTION: What are you going to do to follow through with the challenge this month or do you have additional ideas that we can benefit from by sharing with our own families? We’d love to hear them!
FREE GIVEAWAY: We love to hear your ideas and thoughts! Please feel free to comment on this article and we will enter each person who comments in a free “Helping Hands Chart” giveaway download from Brite music! The contest ends May 25th at midnight PST. The winner will be announced next Saturday, May 26th.
* This giveaway is now closed. Congratulations to our winner, rstruhs! *