Written by Sean Allen – better known as Caroline’s husband. 😉
Tell me if any of this sounds familiar?
“You are SO mean!”
“I’m not playing with you!”
“Leave me ALONE!”
“Give me that back!”
And that’s about enough of that. I could hear the little voices of my children in my head as I typed every one of those lines. And even though they’re in bed as I type this, it’s still enough to make me cringe a little. 🙂
Every family could benefit from more kindness in their speech. Bickering children who have hardly a nice thing to say to one another make for a very disrupted and tiresome day. Harsh words have a way of taking the peace that ought to reign in your home by the scruff of the neck and booting it out the front door. By bedtime, your ears are nearly ringing with the commotion of it all.
We’ve always had little tolerance for cruel or harsh speaking in our home, but a few months ago it seemed as if our children were constantly at each other’s throats! It usually came in pairs, that is, a different pair would be cross with each other every day. Some days were worse than others and then there were days where it seemed the whole lot of them had morphed into one of those big rolling, brawling balls of kicking and screaming you see in cartoons!
Of course our natural inclination was to diffuse the ball with – you guessed it – more shouting.
This would bring the ball to a stop but it did little to teach our children about the importance of kind words. I realized we needed some help. Something along the lines of a visual aid.
I sat down one night and began to tinker around on the computer. I wanted to come up with something that would help my children see just how often unkind words slipped out of their mouths. I also wanted them to see the times they used kind or gentle speech to one another and to reward them for their efforts. What I eventually came up with was Wordmarbles.
Wordmarbles couldn’t be simpler. All you need is two mason jars, a bowl, and some marbles. Your marbles represent “words” and they all go in the “words bowl”. We’ve taught our children that words are very much like marbles. They can be smooth and bright and shiny or, if you throw them at someone, they can really hurt! It all depends in how you use them.
If we hear our children using kind words, we tell them to put a marble in the “kind words jar” and if they use mean speech, they have to put a marble in the “mean words jar”. I’ve designed three fun and colorful labels to put on each container – just cut them out, stick them on and you’re ready to go!
The “mean words” and “kind words” labels are nice because they have these little gauges built into the side of them. These are there to help you and your little ones keep track of their speech over the course of the month. You can use these gauges for either rewards or consequences as the jars fill up with marbles.
I was surprised to see how hard our children worked to keep the level of the marbles in the “mean words jar” lower than that of the “kind words jar”! At the end of the month, if our children have more kind words than mean words they get a treat of ice cream, sometimes at home and sometimes from Chick Fil A. 🙂
As with our Character Badges program, consistency is key. For Wordmarbles to be effective, it’s important to try and acknowledge as many instances of either kind or unkind speech as you can.
You can purchase the Wordmarbles pdf file here for $2.99,
but for two days only you can get it totally free when you subscribe to the blog! This offer has expired.