- Education and Science
"How Full is Your Bucket? For Kids" -Mom's Book Review
"Go Fill Some Buckets, Girls!"
After the first day of school, my girls came home talking about buckets. They enthusiastically explained about fillers and dippers and how their buckets were "overflowing". One paused, looked at me and said "I love you Mommy...is your bucket full now?"
Three months later and we are still talking about how to fill someone's bucket. We talk about doing and saying things that will make buckets full to the brim.
Everyday as the girls get out of the car to go to school I say "Go fill some buckets, girls!"
Which book transformed our family lingo and opened discussions about kindness, respect, and bullying? "How Full Is Your Bucket? For Kids" by Tom Rath and Mary Reckmeyer.
Ok, so the book is written "for kids"- it says so on the cover. The main character is a little boy going about his day experiencing regular kid stuff through the "bucket filling" lens. Even though this is a picture book, I believe that the 'tweener and parental units have benefited immensely from this simple analogy. We didn't even need to purchase the award winning "adult" version.
Each of us has an invisible bucket. It is constantly emptied or filled, depending on what others say or do to us. When our bucket is full, we feel great. When it's empty, we feel awful.
Each of us also has an invisible dipper. When we use that dipper to fill other people's buckets -- by saying or doing things to increase their positive emotions -- we also fill our own bucket. But when we use that dipper to dip from others' buckets -- by saying or doing things that decrease their positive emotion— http://strengths.gallup.com/114082/Theory-Dipper-Bucket.aspx
How Full is Your Bucket? For Kids
Filling Buckets at Home
Teachers at school are following a whole curriculum about filling buckets. They are addressing the interactions between classmates at school, starting early discussions about kindness, caring, and yes, even bullying. The teachers have worksheets and bulletin boards so the kids can fill in the blanks with kind "bucket filling" words to say to classmates. When writing book reports, kids describe characters as "bucket fillers" or "bucket dippers".
The buckets were so popular at school, that my family and I brainstormed ways to fill buckets at home. We started by talking about filling buckets at different times of the day. Here are some examples.
Getting up on time, doing the daily routine without reminders. (We used to have a chart with stars for this, but the bucket analogy gave the old chart deeper meaning.)
Taking turns talking about the day without interrupting.
Doing homework respectfully, carefully, and diligently.
Take care of your body- fill your own bucket. (Bath, Teeth, Early to Sleep)
Read a book- also filling your own bucket.
Quiet time with family- fills all buckets.
So many ways to fill buckets:
words, actions, tone of voice, facial expressions, body language, gift giving, saying thanks, being positive, just being present...
The list goes on and on, and changes depending on your situation. Being a bucket filler is a deliberate, conscious act. It takes thoughtfulness and mindful sensitivity towards others to be a great bucket filler. We can teach our kids these skills while we continue to apply them ourselves as parents and role models.
Filling buckets and tummies.
The Bucket Song
Preventing "long term bucket damage" with discussions about bucket dippers.
Sometimes Mommy or Daddy can come home from work with buckets close to empty.
Kids can learn that they can help fill buckets, even if they belong to an adult, friend or sibling who is older.
Sometimes kids just don't know that their tone of voice can hurt someone, or dip from a bucket. Kids don't know that their facial expressions can hurt someone. Kids can learn how and when to correct someone without hurting feelings.
Using the bucket analogy makes these discussions easier. Practicing these skills at home prepares them for school and social activities.
Buckets at Soccer Games
I am a volunteer referee for little girls' soccer games. Those sweet little angels with the bouncing pigtails, ribbons, and pink uniforms can also make rude comments, throw grass and push each other.
So how does a bucket get filled at a soccer game? What things can we say to fill our teammates buckets before a game, during a game, and after a game?
What things do we say and do to dip from the opposing teams' buckets at soccer games....baseball, swimming, dance, karate? What could we do or say to fill buckets instead?
Classroom lessons also work at home.
- Bucket Fillers 101
This is a website where teachers share their lessons. Some are just brilliant....Bucket Filler Detectives, Famous Bucket Fillers, Filling Buckets for Pets, Filling Buckets on Thanksgiving. The list is incredible.
Other Bucket Books
The book "Have You Filled a Bucket Today? A Guide to Daily Happiness" is written more as an informational text instead of a narrative. It is an EXCELLENT book as a follow-up activity. Shucks, it could even come first. The two books compliment each other wonderfully.