As a teacher and mother of two, I am always trying to convey the importance of kindness. We talk about being helpful, following the "golden rule" and friendliness. But do our kids really get it? With bullying in schools spiraling out of control, I'm sure this lesson is being missed by many. In her book, Have You Filled a Bucket Today?, Carol McCloud talks about kindness in a bit of a metaphor that is easy for kids to understand and relate to. Everybody has an invisible bucket on top of their head. We can fill our buckets by doing kind deeds, saying nice words and helping others. We can also become a "bucket dipper" when we use hurtful language or disrespect people. McCloud does an excellent job of bringing this complicated message down to a child's comprehension level and also stresses the idea that by filling other's buckets, we fill our own. I recently read this book to my two little girls and now they talk about filling buckets when they speak kindly. They get it! We so often read these books to children about what NOT to do. Now we can stop bullying with positive encouragement that reaches even the tiniest of minds!
Fill a bucket in your classroom or your home with kind words or compliments. Have the children write compliments about others or have them write down things that people did for them to make them feel good. Offer surprises when your bucket is filled. Children can express positive feelings and also become aware of how small deeds make big differences.
Have individual buckets for your children and fill them with pom poms each time you catch some bucket filling actions. When their buckets are full, offer them a sticker to place on the outside of the bucket. Watch those stickers pile up!
Draw a picture of a bucket and have your child draw pictures inside of the bucket that represent the very things that fill a bucket. Share your pictures!
Go to the "bucketfillers shop" at www.bucketfillers101.com. There are lots of cool posters and products relating to bucket filling for your home and classroom. There are also a number of books related to McCloud's book. I can't wait to check some of these books out!