Monday, March 14, 2011

Be Nice or Leave

Sometimes my kids are really sweet. Sometimes they're incredibly funny. On certain days, they're especially creative. And on some other days they're downright mean. Of all the days, I like those last days the least.

Sadly, those days have seemed to be increasing in numbers as of late. I would blame it on winter, as I think winter is to blame for most awful things, but I fear I'd be eating crow when my kids are still mean come Spring.

I definitely don't think my kids are mean people. They're nice people who just act mean sometimes. Either way, I'd like to see less mean. So, we made Nice Bags.

To the ordinary person, Nice Bags look an awful lot like brown paper lunch bags with stickers on them and maybe the crayon-scrawled word "nice." But to a child (whose mother is trying to get him or her to be nicer), a Nice Bag is a reminder of how good it feels to do something nice, and how easy and pleasurable it is to brighten someone else's day.

While the kids decorated bags, they suggested names of the people to whom they should show some extra kindness. I wrote the names out on papers and the kids folded the papers and put them in their bags.

The idea was to take a name out each day and have the kids purposefully do something nice for the lucky person chosen. After a few phone calls to relatives and drawings made for friends, the system lost a bit of momentum. Now (in a less than stellar parenting performance), I usually suggest digging into the Nice Bag only when the kids' meanness reminds me of their existence. Either way, the Nice Bags are kind of nice.

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