Quick Step: Sharing Peaks & Valleys
What it is: A way to connect around the family table, share experiences, practice language development, and build “muscles” of gratitude.
Why You Need This: Life moves fast – especially here in Orange County. In our fast-paced day to day, our communication with our children can become primarily instruction giving – get your shoes on, grab your lunch box, head for the car, etc. Checking in around the family table and allowing each family member to share their peak (high point of the day) and their valley (low point of the day) is a great way for the family to interact. For younger family members, this also affords a great forum for developing narrative language skills.
Life for many Orange County kids amounts to a very privileged life. Getting them to recognize this privilege and approach it with gratitude and appreciation rather than expectation can be a challenge. Practicing Peaks & Valleys forces family members to reflect daily on what they have that is good. Studies show that telling about an experience which one enjoyed and for which one is grateful releases the same types of endorphins as actually living through the experience. So the recounting of a daily Peak, actually helps to reinforce those neural pathways of gratitude.
Estimated Time: 5-15 minutes per day, depending on the size and talkativeness of your family.
How to do it:
- Gather around your family table in the evening. If a meal can be shared during this gathering, even better!
- Call on one family member and ask them to share their Peak (high point / most pleasant experience) of the day along with their Valley (low point / most unpleasant experience) of the day. If your family has difficulty not interrupting each other, you may want to pass a small rock (we call it the Talk Rock) to the first person called upon. The Talk Rock shows that only the person holding it may talk, while everyone else practices listening.
- When the first person is done, he or she calls on another person (and passes the Talk Rock if you are using one) and asks him or her to share their Peak & Valley.
- This continues around the table until all family members have shared their Peaks and their Valleys.