January 31, 2011

Have You Filled a Bucket Today?

Parents want a child who is kind and respectful to others. How many times in the past week have you muttered the words, "Be nice!" The words children use are based on what they hear from other people, especially their parents. What are you saying to your child and how are those words impacting what he or she says to others? Are you modeling kindness?

I believe that children need to be taught how to express kindness on a daily basis. One easy way to teach kindness is to use the concept in the book Have You Filled a Bucket Today? by Carol McCloud.

The premise of the book is that we all carry an invisible bucket that holds our feelings. When our bucket is full, we feel happy; when it's empty, we feel sad. A bucket filler is someone who says or does nice things for other people. By doing this, they are filling other people's buckets and filling their own bucket at the same time. On the other hand, a bucket dipper says or does things to cause other people to feel bad. A bucket dipper empties their own bucket when they say and do mean things.

Since children are visual learners I suggest you give each family member a small bucket. It can be a beach bucket or a small box such as an empty tissue box. Decorate them and add your name. Line them up and each day family members put kinds words and compliments on pieces of paper and drop them into the buckets. Young children who are not yet reading and writing can draw pictures. At the end of the week have a special family time where you empty the buckets and read the nice things that filled your bucket.

Help your child come up with things they can say or do to fill someone's bucket. In no time at all your children will experience the pride and joy of bucket filling!

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