The love jar. I was thrilled that when I typed those words into Amazon, I actually found exactly the product and love jar that I was envisioning. I wanted to create a love jar for our daughter that was full of meaningful little notes about all of the reasons why we love her. This is the perfect Valentine’s day gift for kids- and honestly it’s great for both kids and adults!
And confession- we gave this to our daughter on Christmas in her stocking… it’s the perfect small, yet meaningful stocking item as well!
So let me tell you about what this love jar is and why we love this gift so much…
I have to first start by giving some background with how this idea came up…
Our daughter is highly sensitive. It’s a trait, not just a social description by the way. If you’d like to read more about the highly sensitive child, click here. One of the things that highly sensitive children deal with is called a shame cycle. They are super hard on themselves. When they lose their cool or make a mistake because of their super big emotions, they then feel undeserving of love and kindness. That then causes them to act out more, and the cycle repeats.
Our daughter (5 years old at the time), was saying things like “You should throw me in the trash.”
Now here’s the problem… Highly sensitive children do NOT like praise. So giving them positive messages needs to be done right, or the message gets lost. It can basically backfire into them thinking you are trying to convince them how great they are, meaning there is convincing needed and they must not be very good at all. Get the drift?
In order to combat this, it is essential to give specific positive statements to highly sensitive children. And the cool thing is that all children and all people can benefit from this. Specifics make things more meaningful.
Here is an example of how to give specific positive compliments, instead of generic “convincing” ones:
Instead of saying “You are so nice,” you can give an example and say something like “You were really nice to your brother that time you shared your doll with him.”
With the first sentence, it’s easy to think something negative in response like “No I’m not.” With the second sentence, it’s pretty hard to do that. Most people would think something like “Yeah I guess I was nice when I shared with him.”
So, with that in mind, we wanted a way to build our daughter’s self esteem and show her how loved she is. When she was constantly repeating that we should throw her in the trash, we knew right away we needed a visual for her about love.
We take our daughter to see a therapist that specializes in highly sensitive children. She gave us a really great idea on how to show our daughter that we never stop loving her. The idea was to get two points across to our daughter:
- Our hearts have love for everyone in our family. Adding a little brother to the family didn’t take any love away from her.
- When people get mad, love is not taken away.
The first “love jar” activity was born. This is not the gift I bought on Amazon, but rather a hands on activity to do with your child. I’ll get to the love jar gift in a second, but this is a must do activity!
The Love Jar Activity
- Get jars and candy. 1 jar and 1 type of candy for each member of your family.
- Fill up 1 jar with equal parts of each candy. Explain that this is all of your love. There’s some room for each person in the family to get some love.
- Then tell your child that it doesn’t work that way and dump out the jar. Ask your child, “Do you know you actually get a full jar all to yourself!?”
- Now get out all of the jars.
- Fill one jar with one type of candy all the way up and put a name to it. “This is Daddy’s jar. Look at all of the love I have for him.”
- Repeat this process for everyone in the family.
- Explain that everyone has their own jar, and their own love. Explain that when a new baby is born into the family, love doesn’t get taken away from anyone. The baby gets their own jar! There is always more love to give!
- Also take the time to explain that nothing touches these love jars. When someone gets mad, no love can come out.
This visual was SO powerful for our 5 year old. We have 5 people in our family. She had a relatively new brother (1 year old) and I know over the course of that year she’d felt the effects of having less dedicated time with us.
This is how it went for us, and the exact note that I sent to our daughter’s therapist:
“Love jars…. OMG these were a huge hit. We filled one up with ¼ for Caroline, Joe, William, and April. She was engaged and nodding along. Then when I told her that’s actually not how it works she was SHOCKED. Jaw hit the floor shocked. She was literally astounded.
I went and got 4 more jars and explained that her jar has 100% of my love- all for her. We then had some great conversation around it and she told me that sometimes she feels like my love is split between her and William, and sometimes she feels like her jar isn’t full.
This exercise really resonated with her.
Since then, every day she tells me that HER jar for ME is full and she never takes any out. She reminds me all the time. ❤ “
Ok so literally since that day, our daughter kept with that visual. She continues to tell us, and we also tell her, that our jars are full. It’s our little reminder to each other that nothing else really matters, but our love.
The Love Jar Gift
So, when it came time for our daughter’s birthday and Christmas, I just kept coming back to this idea that I wanted to actually give her a love jar. Not only that, I wanted to make sure that her love jar was filled with those specific compliments and positive thoughts that we know she needs as talked about above.
And so, I went to trusty old Amazon to see what I could find to bring my vision to life. And I WAS SO HAPPY when I found exactly what I wanted.
This jar has tiny little capsules in it. And in those capsules are tiny little rolled up notes that you can write on.
I’m lazy and have pretty horrible handwriting, so I decided to print out my notes and cut them to fit. When I was done, there were about 80 very specific notes telling our daughter the things we love about her, and about 80 capsules to fill. It was a lot of work!
I am so glad I took the time to do this though… after opening her stocking and all of her Christmas presents, she told me that THIS was her favorite gift. Not her new clothes and toys. Nope- the love jar is our 6 year old’s favorite gift. This is the type of present that will be remembered.
This is the jar we purchased. It comes with 50 capsules. When we got it, I didn’t like that the 50 capsules didn’t actually fill the whole jar. So, we bought some extra capsules. I think I ended up with 80 capsules in the jar to fill it nicely.
Click here to get the love jar and capsules. There are all sorts of jar options on Amazon. This link will take you to the size we got, and show you a few others as well.
Click here to get extra capsules to completely fill the jar!
Now our daughter gets to sit down and read these little love notes any time she wants. It’s a fantastic thing for her to have and I am so so glad we thought to do this.
Yesterday, she actually decided to make me her version of a love jar because she loved the gift so much. She rolled up some paper into a burrito (because Mama likes burritos, of course) and is putting notes into it for me. Cutest and sweetest thing ever. I got a love burrito!
I cannot recommend these love jars more. The activity above along with this present is something that is great for kids, amazing for big siblings, and honestly I think it’s a great present for anyone.