September Family Focus: Including Others

After an amazing summer making the most of no activities for the girls and my husband working remotely (we ended up spending 8 of the 12 weeks traveling, 7 of which were trips to see our extended families!), we’re back home for the long haul and finally getting back into our routines… Including the routine of having a special kickoff night for our Family Focus Traits! So, last night, even though our books about including others have been on our front-facing shelf for a week, we hit the ground running with a special kickoff night to get us thinking about how we can include others! Read on to see which books we read and what we talked about, as well as some conversations we plan to have throughout the rest of the month.

Our front-facing bookself display of books that model including others

As always, we attached our Family Focus kickoff night to dinner, but I had two read-aloud books ready to go right next to me. So, once I finished eating and the girls were still munching away (and therefore a captive audience, which you know I love!), I pulled the books over and started reading.

But, before reading the books, we asked the girls what it means to be inclusive, or to include others, so that we could gauge what their understanding of inclusion was. One answered, “It means to be kind!” and the other “It’s when you invite someone to play with you.” Such good information for us to know! Then, we read.

We started with Yo! Yes?, a long-time favorite of mine, and then, we read Each Kindness, which I’ve written about before. It has many parallels to The Hundred Dresses, and I was thrilled when the girls were able to make connections between the two texts. Both Yo! Yes? and Each Kindness naturally open doors to conversations about noticing others, about including others, about responding to others’ invitations, about interpersonal similarities and differences, and so much more. You read read more about both of these books here.

Finally, we began the process of filling in a chart about “What does it mean to be an includer?” I broke being an includer into different scenarios and places, as I really wanted to brainstorm specific ways to include others during remote learning and social distancing. As was to be expected, coming up with ways to include others at school was significantly easier than thinking about how to include others through a computer screen, but I think our second grader has some good ideas to try to implement this week!

We’ll cycle back throughout this week to see if the girls come up with any new ideas about including others at school, whether in person or via distance learning, and then next weekend we’ll finish our chart with ways we can include others in our house and around our community. Other ideas we have for the rest of the month include making an inclusion chain, to which we’ll add a link every time we do something inclusive or someone else includes us, and to set specific goals for including others at the beginning of the week and supporting each other to meet their goals.

Have you read any books from our including others booklist yet? Which titles are you loving?

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