Tidbits – more biking, and family meeting

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Much more bike riding practice has been happening. Z still needs help starting, and H has been helping helping helping. It’s really cool how she takes pride in helping her sister start, and is genuinely so happy for both her sisters when they accomplish something new/hard. (This applies to lots of things, but specifically biking lately.) N has just been taking off with her biking. I think she was pushed to succeed by her sister…. She can now start by herself reliably every time, and we can just see her confidence growing. It’s really cool. She was practicing yesterday and she tried standing up on the bike while pedaling. I don’t know if she was more excited, or if H was more excited for her.

(I also have pictures of H climbing our street sign like a monkey. However, I don’t want to post our street on the large world of the net, so if you want to see it, please email me.)

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We do Family Meetings once every 3-5 weeks or so. This is a positive discipline thing tool I learned at a positive discipline class.  The teacher, who has teenage-adult kids, said this was her most recommended tool of all. That was enough for me, so we have been doing these for over a year now. They are great, and mostly super fun. We always have a treat, so the kids have total buy-in to these meetings. (I was told if we get buy-in now, at these younger ages, it is really great as they get older.) So we all get a treat, and then we start with compliments and appreciations, where we all get a chance to say something we like or appreciate about each other. (It varies by child and day if everyone gives everyone a compliment or if each kid just gives one or two.) Lately, Z’s has been, for both me and Mikey, “I like that you let me make your coffee sometimes.” I assume it’ll change at some point. Anyway, after we are done with that, we move on to the agenda. H has taken to writing things down in between meetings on our whiteboard. N is getting there. Z just brings up “something to figure out” at the meeting if she has something. Then we discuss whatever the issues are. I have a family meeting notebook where I take notes. That way we can look at the previous meeting and check in to see if the old issues have been solved or if they need to be revisited.

For example, there has been an issue with pee on the toilet seat. From what I can gather, all the kids are guilty of dripping pee, and all of them don’t like it. So two meetings ago they decided to make a sign to address the problem.

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They worked on it together for quite a while. It was the most bonding pee-on-the-toilet-seat experience I could ever imagine.  They revisited the problem last meeting because “it’s better than it was, but not great” and decided they’d use a secret word “ZAK!” to say to each other to remind them. Then, at our most recent meeting, they decided they are still not satisfied, so they came up with a new idea which is to leave one square of toilet paper on the seat. Not sure if it’s a reminder or just to catch the pee, but… we’ll see how it goes.

I really like the meetings because everyone is equal in them and the focus is on appreciations and problem solving. It is not about blaming or pointing fingers. It really seems to work. And, because we check in about previous ones, there’s a continuity that the kids can see. They see problems that have been solved (by them!) and they know we’ll come back to things. And that they are all heard. I’m hoping this is something that will last and be effective for a long time.

We got to go for a hike yesterday. It was lovely.

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I’m trying to write a play for my class, so that’s it for now.