Encouraging Kindness with Bucket Filling Gem Jars

Encouraging Kindness with Bucket Filling Gem Jars

I’ve always encouraged my kids to “be kind” and “use kind words” but when there was an excess of crabbiness and bickering in our household, I invested in a book called ‘Have You Filled a Bucket Today: A Guide to Daily Happiness for Kids by Carol McCloud‘. It literally changed our language around the concept of kindness to the point where “You are dipping in my bucket!” and “Did I fill your bucket?” have become common phrases in our house.

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Using a simple metaphor and explaining kindness in a way that children can grasp immediately, this book encourages positive behavior and explains how easy and rewarding it is to express kindness, appreciation, and love on a daily basis. It’s the perfect introduction to self-awareness and feelings, and beautifully helps kids visualize how their actions and words impact others.

To immerse ourselves a bit deeper in the concept of this book, I created a worksheet for the kids to help think through and specifically list out what “fills their bucket” and “dips in their bucket”. It was fun discussing the results as a family and interesting discovering what differences they had based on their individual personalities and/or love language(s).

Have You Filled a Bucket Today - Bucket Filling Worksheet - Free Printable - projectsinparenting.com

Click Image to Download Free Printable

In an effort to encourage more “bucket filling” behavior into our daily life, as well as help visualize and reinforce the book’s concept of how “filling other people’s buckets also helps to fill our own”, I created these Gem Jars.

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Supplies for DIY Gem Jars:

General rules for our Gem Jars:

  1. Mom or Dad rewards an individual for “bucket filling” behavior / acts of kindness with a big or small gem – at their discretion, based on the specific act.
  2. There is no removal of gems for bucket dipping behavior. This is meant to detour any tattling on negative behavior, as our goal is to focus on and encourage positive behavior.
  3. It is perfectly acceptable to perform a bucket filling act specifically to ask for a gem. However, Mom or Dad may deny the gem for any reason (you’d be surprised at some of the stuff they come up with, lol).
  4. Children are encouraged to inform parents of their sibling’s kind acts so the bucket filler can receive a gem.
  5. When a child fills their Gem Jar, they receive a reward. Reward options are provided by Mom or Dad. Example rewards include: A specific toy/book/gift we know they want, 1:1 time with Mom/Dad like going to a movie, dinner at their favorite restaurant, out for ice cream, etc.

We have been using our Gem Jars for almost a year now and I’m happy to report that there has definitely been an increase in kindness and helping behavior around these parts. While I can honestly say I saw an immediate impact on my children’s behavior after reading this book and using our gem jars, I’m not going to pretend it’s some kind of miracle fix. I am just happy that it helped them become more self-aware and realize how their behavior impacts the people around them. Sure, sometimes they go out of their way to do kind things only because they want a gem – but hey, that’s the point! To be honest, I am especially proud of those moments when I see them clearly making a conscious effort to do something kind, when otherwise they may not have done so. When they are actively trying their best to be kind, everyone is happier. By putting happiness into terms the kids can understand and use, I think it really has helped them understand the effects of their actions and words on their own well being, as well as the well being of others. I couldn’t be more proud of my little bucket fillers!

“Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions.” -Dalai Lama

Child Size or Small Wrist Magic Bands

We received our Magic Bands in the mail today. Woot, woot!! Warm weather and Disney World, here we come!! Needless to say, the kids were super excited and wanted to try them on immediately. Following the directions provided, Cory pulled away the grey section of Jacob’s bracelet to make it “child size”.  Little did he know the melt-down that would ensue… As far as Jacob was concerned, Cory just stripped away all the band’s magic… First off, Jacob said he wanted the grey border back on (which is not possible). But what seemed to bother him most, is that after you pull the grey section away, it leaves a frayed rubber edge that is visually less appealing. With tears in his eyes, Jacob asked me to “take off” the frayed edges. Normally I would shrug this off as a dramatic toddler episode but, Disney World is supposed to be a “place where dreams come true”, right? So I did my best to trim the frayed sections off with a pair of scissors. After a smoother edge and some convincing from Dad, we were able to sell Jacob on his new modified Magic Band.

Kid Size Magic Band Frayed Edge

Still a little frayed, but MUCH better than the initial appearance after peeling the grey away.

To avoid a melt down from Evan and Avery (who said they wanted to leave their grey border on), and to adjust my Magic Band for my small wrist – I came up with an alternative way to adjust the Magic Bands: Simply trim off the excess grey strapping with scissors (see Orange Magic Band below).

Kid Size or Small Wrist Magic Bands 2

  • Original Magic Band (blue) on the left.
  • Evan’s Magic Band (orange) in the middle, showing if you simply trim off the excess strapping, while leaving the grey border on.
  • Jacob’s Magic Band  (red) on the right, showing Disney’s recommended way to peel off the grey edging.

In my opinion, simply cutting off the excess strap while leaving the grey edging on, looks WAY better. Comparing the two, I’m honestly surprised it’s even a recommendation to rip away the grey edging… Either way, figured I’d share so that any other Disney World travelers can see both options and choose whichever they like best. 🙂

Related post: DIY Disney Autograph Memory Book

Kid Size or Small Wrist Magic Bands