If you have more than one child, perhaps the great love-fight pendulum swings back and forth in your household as much as it seems to do in mine.
One brief, beautiful moment, your kids are talking, laughing, and playing together in perfect harmony.
The next moment, one child is chasing the other child through house with scissors, yelling “Give it back! Give it back!” about a five-cent toy from a goodie bag. Sigh…
It’s an unpredictable vacillation between giggles and silly sounds to yelling and bickering.
What’s a mom to do?
I’m always reading and looking for ways to encourage peace, joy, kindness, and love in my house. But for this idea, I can’t give credit to an amazing parenting expert or blogger. It’s not something I thought of myself.
My eight-year-old son did.
It started with a brief obsession my son had with origami.
A few months ago, a friend at school taught him how to make a ninja star and a swan. My son was all about it, so we picked up a few Origami for Beginners type books at the library. He learned to make a few animals, but his favorite thing was a “water balloon” that you’re supposed to fill with water and toss at your friends. (I don’t think the book got the memo that water and paper don’t mix.)
A few months later when the origami obsession had dissipated, he decided he was going to play “mail man” one day, and from the “water balloon” design, he made boxes for himself, his two younger sisters, and my husband and me.
He taped the boxes outside each of our bedrooms (dude LOVES paper and tape) and announced that we were going to start writing notes to each other.
This has become a wonderful way to foster kindness and encouraging words to one another in our home.
My son is by far the most prolific letter-writer of all of us (we literally cannot keep up with all his sweet notes), but we each try to write a special note to everyone in the family at least once a week.
My two daughters can’t spell yet, but my middle child is learning how to write in kindergarten, so she will often write “Love” and her name at the bottom of the note, and draw a cute picture. My littlest one will make some kind of scribble-scrabble on a piece of paper with stickers, or I will write down for them what they want the note to read.
We write down the special qualities we like about the other person and that we love them. Then we seal up the letter with stickers and other pretty things (like this random sticky jewel one of them found in the photo above).
Now my son and I have begun asking each other questions, i.e. “What’s your favorite ________?” or “Tell me something awesome that happened today,” or “If you were a dinosaur, what kind of dinosaur would you be?” or “What is God teaching you this week?”
A few people have come over to our house and seen our tattered paper mailboxes hanging from the hallway and asked what they were.
I explain the idea behind our “Kindness Mailboxes” and they seem to love it and want to do it at their homes, so I wanted to share it here on my blog as well.
Hopefully it will help foster a little peace and harmony in your home with young children…even if only for a moment. 🙂
****What do you do to help encourage kindness and peace in your home with your kiddos? Let me know in the comments section below!