Monday, February 8, 2016

Making vs Buying Valentines

Ah, it’s time for Valentine ’s Day parties in the elementary school again.  Getting my kindergartener to get Valentines ready for his classmates made me think about what it was like a few short years ago when my oldest had to do it.  Getting my oldest son to write his name 24 times when he was in kindergarten was grueling.  Seriously painful.  He hated it.  It took us days.  I tried to make it more fun for him by letting him pick out any store bought kit he wanted.  He ended up with a popular cartoon character that boasted free temporary tattoos.  I rationed them out over several days so he only had to do a few at a time.  In the end I was able to appreciate how his handwriting improved and how it had gotten easier.  (He was just glad they were done and that he got to keep the extra tattoos.)  Last year he was into rainbow loom bracelets so he made them for the whole class and I taught him how to use publisher to layout a card to go with them.  There are so many cute ideas out there on Pinterest, but I resisted the urge to take over and follow the latest trend this year.  I really want the valentines to be their own, something that they are excited to give their friends and classmates. I left it totally open to them.  

One child chose to buy his valentines, the other was super excited to make his.  My husband and I overheard them talking about their valentines.  Each child thought that what they were doing was better.  That’s when my husband brilliantly interjected that they should use “I statements”.  For example, instead of saying: “Making your own valentines is better than buying them!”  Try saying: “I enjoy making my own valentines because I like to draw.”  Or instead of saying: “My valentines are cooler.” Say: “I think my friends are going to like getting the valentines I picked out for them.”  It worked amazingly well! 
Working on fine motor and organizational skills here!

Saturday each boy set up a spot to work on their valentines.  My youngest stuck with it and made a unique card for each member of his class.  I did lay some ground rules.  He chose colored construction paper which I cut in half on the paper cutter so each card was the same size.  He then could cut, glue and draw to his heart’s content as long as each one had his name and his classmates name on it.  It was great for his cutting skills, I was pretty impressed with the hearts he was cutting out by himself by the end!  He also kept track of who he made valentines for and crossed them off his list as he went.  It was pretty exciting to see these organizational skills come together!

My oldest resisted the task of completing the valentines so early in the week at first, but once he got started he said it was actually fun to do.  (And I don’t have to worry about him staying up late the night before while he completes them last minute.)  He went to the store with his dad and chose a cute kit with a scratch off heart that concealed the message on the card. He carefully taped a penny to each one so that his classmates could scratch off the heart on their card right away.

In the end both kids were excited to give away their valentines and I hope learned valuable organizational and people skills in the process.  Using “I” language instantly changed their attitude, making positive statements that expressed their opinions instead of nasty comparisons that put others down.  I think more adults should put this into practice.  What do you think?

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