Are you familiar with the game “Doorbell Ditch”? Or many you know it as Knock-Down-Ginger, Ding-Dong-Doorbell Ditch and Knock-Knock Run!
I remember playing Doorbell Ditch for hours. I’d only stop when I got caught - or my dad whistled that it was time to come inside.
If you never played this game, it involves knocking on the front door (or ringing the doorbell) of your “victim” - then running away before the door can be answered. They open the door to no one. You hide and watch their reaction.
I remember the feeling I used to experience after completing the act. Although it was supposed to be a fun game, I felt awash in a wave of guilt, fear and shame. I always felt terrible for the person who answered the door and found no one standing there. Most of all, I remember thinking: “I wonder if I just interrupted them from something important.”
My strong feelings of guilt almost always overshadowed any fun I was supposed to be having.
My children recently asked if they could go Doorbell Ditching.
“Here we go,” I thought to myself. “Do I allow them to have some good ol’ fashion (somewhat innocent) fun? Or do I use my childhood memories to guilt them out of it?:
So, I created a new way to have the same SORT of fun. It’s an alternative to Doorbell Ditch – with a positive shift! Same game – with a new happy focus which turns it into a positive, character-building activity. Same fun and silliness – but without the negativity after taste!
Most mornings, the first kid up and I take a walk together. They hold one of my hands, and with the other hand I gold my morning cup of coffee. It’s a great way to have that important one on one time with mommy. While we’re walking and talking, we’re also scouting for newspapers which were left far away from neighbors’ front doors. We then grab the once-distant newspaper and place it right smack dab on the doorstep.
It melts my heart knowing this morning paper run makes my kids feel good! They turn around and give me a thumbs up when our mission is complete. It’s a great way to start the day!
This has become a fun tradition in my family. I’m hoping it will be a new tradition your family can adopt this summer- to help your kids focus on positivity and kindness.
Plus - when the neighbors spot your kids doing kind things, chances are they will catch the kindness bug!
I’m sure you have many of your own ideas to help kids learn positive behaviors, so please share your ideas - and any photos with us!