Consistency is the word of the week in our character development series. I decided to focus on working with kids on consistency of attitude. We have had some major ups and downs when it comes to attitude. I have to admit that two weeks ago I was crying after soccer games where neither of my girls could pull it together. Sure it was dumping down rain, but it seemed like all of the other kids could make it work. I was thinking, “I am working so hard on my children’s character and they are the only ones who have the most awful attitudes on the field.” I was super discouraged. Sometimes I wonder what in the world I’m doing offering out advice when at moments I feel like I’m just not doing a great job myself. I have to remind myself that I am doing this blog not because I have all the answers but because I’ve questioned myself so much along this road. I have reached out to others. As I have, I have wanted to pass along my experiences and what “works for me.” I want to offer up ideas – in character development, in parenting, in fun. It’s a journey all of us moms are on, and I need to come to the grips with the fact that my kids will always struggle with sin because they are human. I shouldn’t feel discouraged when I see the hard times. I should rejoice that I do also see strides in their behavior and a lot of glimmers of hope. I think I too often let those moments…you know those moments…overshadow the good. I need to work on that. Maybe I need my own attitude chart. Which leads us to today’s activity….
The Attitude Chart – The attitude chart was a little self check I came up with where kids can monitor their own attitudes throughout the day. I made a printable of this attitude chart so you do have to worry about making your own. My son is down with croup, so I didn’t have time to develop this as much as I had hoped with my girls. I want to continue it with my own kids next week. My thought is that I could print the chart out on heavier stock paper and get it laminated. Then, I could use white board pens to create the daily graph so I would not have to print a new one every day.
If your kids are anything like my kids, they can range from super pleasant and sweet to a child with major attitude. I think some kids might be more extreme in their mood swings, and I think I might have a couple of those. I explained to my oldest the other day that she has two different sides. She has my sweet, fun, wonderful Abby who is so fun to be around. That is the Abby I see most of the time. Then, there’s the other side. It’s like a flip is switched and there is suddenly a melt down and major attitude. I spent a lot of last year trying to figure out what contributes to that flip. We had just watched “The Emperor’s New Groove,” where one of the character has a devil on one shoulder and an angel on the other. I have been explaining to Abby that she has a battle like that going on in her too. She’ll need to decide what team she wants to be on and what kind of Abby she’d rather be. I have even begun holding up my two hands as a reminder when she starts to head downhill. She has been physically pushing one hand away to indicate she doesn’t want the ugly Abby rearing its head. It’s been working for us.
The consistency chart is another self check. I drew out a couple charts as introduction. I showed that the extremes of going up and down – high, low, high, low – is not achieving consistency in attitude. I showed a more mild chart where they were able to keep their attitude within the yellow (neutral) and green (good attitude) zone. Now, I made sure to let my kids know that this doesn’t have anything to do with feeling happy and sad. Those are very healthy emotions that are important for children to learn to feel and express. In the past, I’ve encouraged them to identify their feelings, label their emotions and verbalize their feelings. Feeling an array of emotions is so important in the development of empathy and overall mental health of children. Therefore, this activity is addressing when my kids have a sour attitude and are not properly expressing how they feel. This results in rude talk, slamming doors, uncooperative behavior and treating others poorly. Those behaviors are not acceptable. So, this chart is attempting to get the kids to recognize major shifts in their attitude. It will help them self-check and really get a visual picture of the swings that can happen. Then, they can learn to adjust their behaviors to get a more consistently pleasant attitude throughout the day…I hope. 😉