Building Happiness and Harmony in our Home :)

Sometimes we need an infusion of sunshine and happiness into our homeschool. There are times when the kids nitpick at each other, poke, needle and whine… we all (including me!) need to step back and ask ourselves if we are being as kind, thoughtful and caring as we can be!

One day for our writing workshop, we read the book, Have You Filled a Bucket Today? A Guide to Daily Happiness for Kids. The message is just so lovely. We each have the power to make other people feel good, feel cared about and special by the actions (big or small) we take.

After we read the book, we each wrote up two lists: Fill a Bucket (ie. How to be kind and caring) and Empty a Bucket (How to make someone feel bad, hurt someone’s feelings, leave someone feeling dejected, sad, unloved or picked on)

Then we shared them with each other and added to our list!  It was a really great lesson on treating each other well!  I’ll share the lists we came up with… are there things we left out?!!

Fill a Bucket (ie. How to be kind and caring):

  • give someone a hug
  • smile at someone
  • make friends with someone
  • write a letter
  • make a craft for someone
  • give someone a present
  • let someone go first
  • leave a love note under someone’s pillow
  • help someone who needs it
  • clean up after yourself
  • get enough sleep so I’m not sad or mad
  • invite someone over for dinner
  • be a good listener
  • snuggle together
  • say please and thank you
  • be gracious
  • be understanding
  • be a friendly driver
  • leave a good tip
  • do jobs with a positive attitude
  • be a good friend – take turns, share, do what someone else wants first

Empty a Bucket (How to make someone feel bad, hurt someone’s feelings, leave someone feeling dejected, sad, unloved or picked on):

  • frown
  • take or snatch things
  • bite
  • steal
  • bully
  • be an Indian giver
  • kill
  • push, snap
  • yell
  • get cross
  • refuse to help
  • say mean things
  • hit or push someone
  • butt in line
  • cut someone off
  • look angry
  • slam around
  • say, “I think you’re stupid or I think you have a baby-face.”
  • break someone’s favorite toy
  • put termites in someone’s house (Do termites have buckets? The termites would be happy? Maybe the buckets were made of wood…)  And that–kind of brought our discussion to an end!!!

 This activity really made an impact on all of us. We’re still talking about “filling someone’s bucket.”

Here’s a another activity we did last year that makes us mindful of the words we use:

The Wrinkled Heart Activity

We’ve now done The Wrinkled Heart Activity twice I first found this wonderful idea at ProTeacher. I first did this with the kids a couple of years ago when we were studying the heart and circulatory system.  It is an activity that shows how hurtful words and actions can linger; it reminds us to be kind and gentle with our words.

Before I read Chrysanthemum to the kids (since that’s the book I had on hand), I cut out a heart.

Then after we read the book we talked about the things the mice said that were hurtful (and I made folds in the heart for each suggestion the kids made) and things we’ve said to each other that have been hurtful (more folds for each suggestion) and things that they’ve heard others say that might be hurtful (more folds).

We then talked about things we say that are kind (unfold for each suggestion). We came up with as many kind things as we could until the heart was completely unfolded.

Then we talked about how the heart was still wrinkled and how the hurtful things we hear can linger for a while in our heart. We hung our wrinkled heart in the homeschool room as a reminder to be kind to one another.

Other books you could use with this activity (suggested by the teachers over at ProTeacher):

  • Oliver Button is a Sissy  by Tomie DePaola
  • Willy the Wimp by Anthony Brown
  • Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon
  • Timothy Goes to School by Rosemary Wells
  • Recess Queen by Alexis O’Neill
  • How to Lose All Your Friends by Nancy Carlson
  • Mr. Peabody’s Apples
  • Sweet Briar Goes to School  by Karma Wilson and LeUyen Pham
  • Giraffes Can’t Dance by Giles Andreae

My kids can always use a gentle reminder to speak kindly to one another!

You might also be interested in these posts:

When Kids Bicker, Argue… How to Address Sibling Fights

To Homeschool You Need…

20+ Thoughts for the Busy Homeschool Family 

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  1. by 20 Signs You're Ready To Have A Baby - Mommyish

    On October 3, 2013 at 9:51 am

    [...] Building happiness and harmony in our homes (Parents.com) [...]