Despite the fact that February has been declared the month of love, last month’s sibling rivalry record was at all time high in these parts. Tearing two children apart from one another as they are in a battle to determine who has been given the most granola in their yogurt cup can be a little tiring.
In an effort to recognize the good deeds that take place in the home (because surely my children express their love for each other on occasion) and perhaps as a subtle attempt to instigate sibling bonding as opposed to sibling demolishing, I decided to start documenting daily acts of kindness in a way that my children would be known participants. So, we started a warm fuzzy jar.
Each warm fuzzy in the jar represents an thoughtful act performed by a member in the family. For instance, say Hendrix offers to share his skittles with Avi without being asked; warm fuzzy. Or say Avi brings Hendrix a blanket after Drix expresses he is cold; warm fuzzy. Make sense? OK, good.
Warm fuzzies are reserved specifically for those from-the goodness-of-your-heart moments. I don’t add a warm fuzzy to the jar for any expected good behavior like taking dishes to the sink after a meal or brushing teeth. I also don’t remove warm fuzzies from the jar for any reason, once a fuzzy is granted, in the jar it stays. Although warm fuzzies are “earned” it’s less a reward system and more an attempt to acknowledge our efforts in loving more. That being said, I thought it might be a good idea to do something fun together as a family when the jar is full because I do want to show my appreciation for simple acts of kindness.
Before introducing the warm fuzzy jar to my kids, I had them help me glue googly eyes to colored pop-poms and afterwards I told them the warm fuzzy story I was so fond of in my grade school days. The version of the story I have (to paraphrase) chronicles the lives a of happy and loving townspeople who express their love to one another in the form of warm fuzzies. The fuzzies are given and received freely until a false rumor is spread about a shortage of warm fuzzies. The rumor causes the townspeople to become greedy and self-seeking as they begin to hoard and lock up their warm fuzzies. The tale ends in good moral, when a young child offers a warm fuzzy to a friend in despair which reminds the townspeople of the strength and love that was once a part of their village and the fuzzies are given freely once again. (This is my favorite adaptation of the fable but I was unable to find it online so if you email me, I’d be happy to send you a digital copy.)
What about you, what kind of things do you do to decrease sibling rivalry in your home? I’m seriously asking here—please don't tell me I am the only mother who has children that fight. Thanks in advance for your great advice!