There are a few articles of clothing in my closest that I am especially fond of. One is a blue silk dress that is the rare combination of flattering AND super comfortable. Another is a lightweight white wrap-style sweater that goes with everything and is perfect for cool summer evenings. Being wary about causing damage when it comes time to clean either of these favorites, I am thankful that each comes with a care tag with specific instructions for safe handling.
The other day, after ANOTHER challenging interaction with my pre-teen, I found myself wishing that he came with care instructions, like my clothing. I am cautious to follow the care instructions so as to not cause damage to my clothing; how much more important that I not cause damage to my loved ones!
None of us came with care instructions for safe handling of our emotional health. And even if we did, these instructions would surely change as we grow and change. Let’s create personal care tags with specific instructions for our loved ones to consider. What valuable information to know about each other and to help foster a climate of emotional safety within our homes!
Personal Care Tags Activity
Below are instructions for engaging in this activity together with your spouse and/or children. This activity is especially important to do with your teen and ‘young adult’ children. They are changing rapidly and their needs are evolving by the moment, it seems sometimes!
- Download the printable “My Personal Care Tag” and print one for each family member.* Get out markers, crayons, colored pencils or other writing/drawing implement.
- Begin your time together with a prayer. Use the one at the end of this post or one of your own.
- Take 10-15 minutes to individually create your care tags.
- Complete your care instructions using the prompts on your care tags.
- Color or decorate your care tag however you wish.
- When everyone is finished creating his or her care tag, take turns sharing them with one another. Mom or Dad go first. Show your care tag and read what you wrote. Ask your family members if they have any questions or need clarification on any of your care instructions.
- Keep your care tags in a central location where family members can refer to them as needed to be reminded of how to effectively care for one another’s emotional health.
- Write each person’s name on a small piece of paper, fold them up and put into a hat or basket. Each person draws a name (if you get your own, either trade with someone or put them all back in and draw again). For one week, be very intentional about “handling with care” your family member (whose name you drew). Practice giving them the specific care they need, according to the instructions on his or her Personal Care Tag. At the end of the week, put all the names back in the hat and draw again. It’s ok if you get the same person for another week!
* Feel free to modify this tag to match your family structure (i.e.: more/less than two siblings, additional family member such as Grandma, etc.).
Every now and then, review your care tags. Does what you’ve written there still feel true to you? If not, update it or make a new one. We are dynamic, growing human beings and it is to be expected that our relationship needs will shift from time to time!
Skills for Life
In addition to fostering a climate of emotional safety within our homes, this activity highlights some really powerful life skills, such as:
- Becoming familiar with our own needs around emotional safety in relationships.
- Expressing those needs to others
- Fostering empathy and understanding
- Practicing selflessness by considering someone else’s needs and taking action to meet those needs.
- Awareness that we are all unique. What is important to me and helps me feel cared for may be different from what is important to you.
Questions about the activity? Successes to share? Feel free to email me at anytime or comment via my Facebook page. It is quite comforting to remember that we are not doing this work of Mothering alone, but rather in community.
Family Prayer: Dear heavenly Father, thank you for the gift of my family. You have given each of us diverse needs and a unique heart. Please help us to see the members of our family through Your eyes, that we might look on one another with compassion and mercy. Create in each of us a generous and humble spirit. Fill us with the sincere desire to do all that we can to lift one another up, support, and encourage. We ask Your blessing upon our time together in this exercise of learning to listen and care for one another. We thank you for Your unfailing love for each member of this family. We pray in Jesus’ Name, AMEN!
Copyright 2016 De Yarrison