Quarantine and communication skills with a 3.5 and 7 year old can be a challenge. Not only are we more or less stuck indoors, we are now also the teacher, coach and their only companions for going on 8 weeks. It’s no surprise that we start to wear on each other. I was starting to raise my voice more than I care to admit and trying to figure out why the “little things” in the evening set me off. I tried to figure out how do I explain to my two kids the impact of a million “little things” by the end of the day turn into big things.
I had two mason jars. So we hade a family meeting. I took one mason jar, and a pitcher of water. I put the empty mason jar in an empty pot. I explained that the jar is me, it is empty and ready to be filled either with good energy or bad. As the day goes on every time I get nitpicked, my jar gets filled with water, then every time I have to nag to get something done, more water gets added. By the end of the day my jar is almost full. Then it happens, one last act of back talking sets me off and my jar over flows. I see red, and I raise my voice.
Surprisingly, at this both boys looked shocked! The understood, and I asked if they ever feel that way. We talked about it for a bit and discussed what can we do.
I emptied the jar. Grabbed a second jar and some red and green food coloring. Every time the boys would do something to make our day a little easier (listening the first time, being polite) we will add water to the green jar, every time its something that takes away our energy we’ll add to the red jar.
Our family goal is to have the green jar more full than the red everyday. So far, it’s been working. The jars serve as a reminder for all of us, to praise the good more then the bad, and change course if we need to.
The visual effect of the jars, has helped us understand and communicate how we are feeling at the end of the day.