By: Teena Taivalmaa
About a year and a half ago Mike and I searched for the magic answer to get our children to get along. The constant bickering and sassy talk was in high gear. After the kids were in bed we were exhausted mentally. I almost wondered if it would be easier to have three kids in diapers again. How can we teach our children to be kind and respect one another?
We were busy running to and from practices and lessons. Most weekends were booked as well. I am sure most know the feeling. We tried several things with little relief for a short time. Then I read an article about trading names for a week, leaving clues and guessing who had your name. I thought ‘hey, why not.’ This began our journey of “niceties.”
I explained the process to our family. After the eye rolls and funny looks I thought‘great another bust.’ However, what happened was the opposite. The kids started by doing little things for the person they drew. Make a bed, put clothes away, help with dishes seemed to be popular niceties. After a few weeks we were seeing pictures, poems, notes, buddies for a day and best of all the bickering and sass wasn’t as prevalent. It wasn’t perfect, but it was a tool we could work with. Some weeks we would forget who we drew within a few hours. Those that forgot made sure to do something for everyone so no one would be left out.
Our process is simple. We place the names in a bowl and everyone draws a name making sure they don’t get their own. We have the names for one week in which we try to do nice things without being caught. It doesn’t always happen every day and that is ok. Before we draw again we try to guess who had our name. Our reward is smiles. We do not expect a thank you as it is a secret. Shhh…..
It was usually our children who would remind us it was Sunday and time to draw niceties. We have not done our niceties for about 5 months. It is coming back with high demand this weekend. We are implementing name hearts to help the forgetful. Yes, I forget often…it means I have everyone’s name.
Our experiment had positive results and we saw huge changes in our family. We are a normal family of seven however, and our kids still argue and sass. I have yet to find that magic trick. It is not as often nor as bad as it was, so we are sticking with it. Plus, some of my best treasures are the notes, cards, and origami left on my pillow.
The simple idea of niceties helps us to take the time to slow down and spread some love to the ones we love most. It is a great feeling to have nice things done for you and feel special. At the same time, it is a wonderful feeling to give and show
love to others.
Simplifying Real Estate. Simplifying Life.
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