I’ve just dropped the kids off for their first day of their last week of school for 2012, and just between you and me, I’m excited.
I love school holidays. I really do. And not just for the fact that it means lazy mornings and no homework (though hooray for that!) Because it gives me a really good chance to work on some heart issues with my kids.
It’s been particularly noticeable lately that I’ve been a bit slack in this department. It seems that as soon as I have sat down to do something, some one has an issue, or all four of them do. I get frustrated and either tell them to work it out, or leave other alone. What I’ve seen happen, is that certain children are getting very good at manipulating the others, and some are always victimized.
Coming into school holidays, I like to sit down and look at all the problem areas for each particular child. Sometimes it’s things like the above scenario, or other times it’s bad habits picked up from kids at school, that I want to eradicate. Then I write myself a list for each child.
On my list I include
- Things are going well that I can encourage them on
- Things that aren’t going so well that I can work with them on
- And a plan to address the areas.
Sometimes I can easily come up with four or five things per child that need addressing. If it were to try and do so, I would quite quickly turn into a crazy woman and everyone would be miserable, so instead I look at the list and pick one to two things that are really pressing. If one looks like its going to be very time consuming, I’ll make sure that the others aren’t so much. It’s all about what is going to work for everyone.
What I like about the holidays, is that I can base activities on these problem areas. So if kindness is the issue (which it is at the moment), I’ll plan days where that is what we focus on. Drawing each other pictures, or making gifts or doing someones jobs.
One year we had a family camping trip and we wanted emphasize putting others first. Boatman and I bought a huge jar of M&M’s and then gave everyone a ziplock bag. Over the course of the trip, acts of selflessness were rewarded with a chocolate in your bag, and then on the drive home, everyone got to eat as many as they had accumulated.
Other times we employ a similar idea and transfer marbles from a jar to a bowl for particular traits. Once the bowl is full, do a fun family activity together.
This holidays one of my goals is to work on conflict resolution with the older girls, for themselves, but also for school. I’m not sure exactly how to do it, because I’m not good at it myself. I figure though, that we can learn together.
We will also be addressing anger management with Miss Ava (it’s not appropriate to hit people), and whining and wingeing with Bailey. And also deliberate pushing of peoples buttons which he just did with Ava.
The goal is not just to stop these things happening; it’s to educate them why it is wrong.
……Hitting is not ok because hurting people is wrong. It’s alright to be angry, but in your anger don’t make a wrong choice.
……Whining is not just annoying, but shows an ungrateful heart. We need to be happy with what we get.
……Annoying our siblings is not just going to really tick off your mum, it’s not kind. We should want to make people happy, not unhappy. And if it’s not funny for everyone, then it’s not funny.
You get the idea.
I’m also quietly hoping that in working on this with the kids, I might get better at some of it myself.
Especially that whole, anger management thing 🙂
This will probably be the last heart training post for this year. Is there anything in particularly you want me to cover next year?