Anyway, this morning started with the boys all bundling into my bed (Hubby had already vacated). We were generally chatting about the usual topics (you know: Mario, friends, minecraft, poo, etc...) and then I remembered something.
"Boys, do you know what day it is today?"
"That's right, and do you know what's special about today?" (this followed by a deluge of suggestions, some more likely than others)
"Um... chocolate spread in our sandwiches?"
"We get to play Minecraft?"
"We're going to see the Lego Movie?"
"Um, well... I was actually thinking of it being Valentine's Day"
So I read the story of St Valentine to them as written here and we talked about valentine traditions.
Then I had an idea...
You see, lately there has been a bit of a grouchy vibe going on here - owing probably to a surfeit of germs, an abundance of weather, an increase in hormones and a general decrease in the amount of hours spent asleep. Every one has been fractious, squabbles have lasted too long, and more mediation has been needed than I have patience for.
So I invited the boys to play a game. In the spirit of Valentine's Day, rather than going around beheading people (as per the fate of the eponymous saint), we were going to find ways to be kind and loving to each other. For every kind or loving deed that we did, we were going to drop a marble into a jar... and just see if we could fill the jar up over the course of the day. Not for rewards, other than maybe just that of choosing their favourite marble and hearing a satisfying clunk as it dropped into place. Absolutely no suggestion of marbles being removed for bad behaviour... this was just about focusing on the positives.
They started off great - lots of cuddling, drawing of pictures, giving of gifts and helping with jobs. Interest waned a little over lunch, but then picked up again afterwards as I gave the jar a little shake, we counted the marbles so far, and tried to think up some more ways to be kind and loving... Happily enough, we actually ran out of marbles before we ran out of loving deeds (I am sure there must be more marbles somewhere in their rooms... we really must get tidying up!) That didn't really matter though - their filling of the jar had ebbed and flowed somewhat, but the point of the game had been successfully made.
Encouragingly, I realised that one of the reasons why the marble jar filled up sporadically was more to do with the boys forgetting it was there than because they weren't doing kind things. Actually when I was paying close attention I saw that they were still being nice to each other (mostly), but just forgetting to add a marble - so that reassured me that there is a lot of unseen kindness in the house anyway - but it was still a success because they made a conscious effort to be loving and kind, and there were definitely far less squabbles throughout the day. Long may it continue!
love note to me from Youngest