1. Rainy days, 2. Miss Five Nature Journaling, 3. Emerson, 4. Fern, 5. Wallaby love, 6. Kookaburra feather?

There's a show on the ABC, 'Didi and B'. A butterfly puppet, Didi, sings the days of the week, then B mucks about half way thought and shouts, 'Bananas!' and they both have a fit of giggles. It makes my children giggle too. "Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thurs, Bananas!"

We spend a lot of time together exploring, creating and learning. But too often the children end up squabbling and I am left feeling like a referee while the magic of the day is lost. After looking for a shorthand way to get my children's attention when they are fighting, 'bananas' has become our codeword for feeling frustrated or cranky. It has made all the difference to smoother, battle free-ish days now that we are all spending more time together through homeschooling. Using the codeword 'bananas' is both funny and nonsensical, and gently breaks the mood. When the children start to bicker I say, "Are you feeling bananas?" And they can't help but crack a smile, despite trying to keep a straight/cranky face. Rather than saying, "I am feeling frustrated", I say, "I'm feeling bananas". Or, "are you feeling bananas?" The weight seems to lift without blame. Once the tension has eased we can discuss their frustrations, put their big feelings into words, and find solutions.

The children have embraced the term as their own and will acknowledge proudly that it is lunch time, and no one has said the word 'bananas'. Or point out when I am starting to express 'bananas' and try to offer alternatives.

It's sweet that such a simple thing could have such a big impact on our days and help us all be mindful of our reactions and emotions, and the way they affect the family.

Do you have a family code word that helps destress a situation? Or a tactic for improving the relationships between your children? I'd love to hear, for who knows how long 'bananas' will be effective?!

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