July is the perfect month for sibling fights to escalate. The newness of school being out is over. Boredom is starting to creep in. The weather is getting hot and humid. And tempers start to flare.
July is the perfect month to have a Kindness Recital. You’ve heard of a music recital, of course, where everyone shares what they have been practicing. Well, this is a “kindness” recital where you also share what you have been practicing—kindness.
You can make this as simple or as elaborate as you wish. First you need to decide on a date for the recital, say one or two weeks from now, and then you need to announce and explain to your family what you plan on doing.
Tell them that the purpose of a musical recital is to share what you have been practicing, and tell them as a family you are going to practice being kind. Define what you mean as “kind” and give examples so your children really understand. Kindness is the Golden Rule, it’s sharing, not hitting, taking turns, and thinking of another’s feelings. It’s being cheerful and obedient, letting your sister be first, and not arguing. It’s being helpful and not grouchy. It's using a pleasant tone of voice.
You could make a simple chart listing what kindness is, then post it and let family members put a star or sticker on it each time someone is kind to them. Or make a more elaborate chart where they can add a paper scoop of ice cream to a paper ice cream cone each time they do a kindness (and then go get ice cream after the recital, of course).
You could make little journals and have family members write down their ideas on ways they can be kind and list when they did it and how they felt.
Here’s a kindness song that you could sing during the week. http://lds.org/churchmusic/detailmusicPlayer/index.html?searchlanguage=1&searchcollection=2&searchseqstart=145&searchsubseqstart=b&searchseqend=145&searchsubseqend=b
You might have your children draw pictures or slogans and place them in rooms around the house to remind everyone of your focus. You could let family members ring a bell every time they are kind or someone is kind to them.
When you have your Kindness Recital, make it somewhat formal with all family members sitting down. Take turns letting family members tell about kindnesses that were shown to them and kindnesses that they did to someone else. You could applaud each family member or have them high five each other. Talk about the feelings you have felt during this practice time and how your home has been a happier place.
Take photographs during the practice week of family members doing acts of kindness. Take photos during the recital and after it while you’re eating refreshments. Make the photos into a little book so that you can remember and be encouraged to continue being kind. You could even skype the grandparents and invite them to your Kindness Recital.
WE, as parents and grandparents, need to exemplify kindness in the way we talk to our children. In the way we treat our children. Teach and expect your children to be kind. And then…….the world will be a better place!