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Loving-Kindness Jar

So those of you who know anything about children know that the early years can pose their own challenges, specifically naughty behavior. Time-outs sometimes feel like they are eating up the days! 
So, to help all of us recognize, acknowledge, & really appreciate each other's positive behaviors we started the "Loving-Kindness Jar".
It's easy & can be used by even the busiest of families!

This jar is almost full to the top!

How it works:
Specifically at dinner (especially during the work week) but it can be at any point during the day, we catch each other showing loving-kindness.  

First, keep all the marbles in a separate container. 

While the jar is empty, decide, as a family, on a special treat for the family (i.e. family movie night, trip to the beach, game night, hike, pool party, etc.). We try to make it something that we can do together as a family as opposed to a material item. Write this on a small piece of paper & place on the bottom of the jar.

Next, whenever we (kids & adults) see someone from our little family unit showing loving-kindness we put a marble in the jar.
{The rule is that you can't ask someone to put a marble in for you.}

Each night at dinner (at least) when you're chatting about your day ask if anyone saw someone in the family showing loving-kindness.  We started by really modeling the recognition, making sure to say something about each other as well as the kids (i.e. "I love how Dad made such a delicious dinner," "It was so nice how (child's name) helped you pick up your toys even though she didn't play with them." "(child's name) used such nice manners when she needed another drink.", etc). Try to recognize anything & everything, especially in the beginning. You're really teaching them how to notice positive behavior as well as what you expect & recognize as positive behavior. 
Be prepared for smiles & lots of recognition as the kiddos learn to love giving compliments to others. They also love hearing how others have noticed them throughout the day! When it really takes off you'll have children who are noticing positive behavior all around them throughout the day!
(Get your tissue ready b/c it's really sweet & you'll have tears of joy in your eyes)

Here comes the additional fun part, once the jar is filled up (after a few days, or weeks depending on how things are going & how big your jar is) empty all the marbles back out.  The little note you placed at the bottom will fall out & you'll be reminded of the family treat you have earned together! 
Put it on the calendar right away (so it doesn't slip away from you - not that you would forget or anything) & write a new treat on a piece of paper to place at the bottom of the newly empty jar  & the positive fun starts all over again!

Examples of behavior to recognize:
* cooking dinner
* using kind words
* helping around the house
* sharing
* taking care of the Earth
* helping without being asked
* helping someone feel better when they are sad
* ... endless possibilities! Just think about what is positive to you & what kind of behavior you wish to see more of in your own children.

I'd love to hear how it goes if any of you try this out at your house!

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