Makayla's Tacky Box. Photo credit: Alexis Trass Walker

Makayla’s Tacky Box. Photo credit: Alexis Trass Walker

Smack In The Middle:
Can THIS Banish 
Bad Behavior?
The Tacky Box (REVIEW)


(Disclosure: Good Enough Mother Media was provided with a Tacky Box for review; opinions are solely that of the writer, Alexis Trass Walker)


My daughter, Makayla, started kindergarten this year. She loves it and I love it for her. Even though she attended preschool for two years at a different school within our local district, kindergarten is a whole new world for her in terms of learning.

Lest you think I mean academic learning, let me say right now that she’s getting that and, unfortunately, much more. Case in point: a few weeks ago, I was in the living room with Makayla and her big sister, Sophia. I was reading a magazine and not paying too much attention to their conversation. All of a sudden, Makayla walks over to the desk, grabs the side of it, and says, “Hey, Sophie. This is how you twerk.”

She proceeded to do this little booty-shaking dance à la Miley Cyrus. You can imagine my shock and horror at seeing this coming from a 5-year-old—especially MY 5-year-old. Though I was dying inside, I didn’t make a huge deal about it because I think that if parents make kids feel bad about questionable behavior that they don’t know is questionable, they learn to take “bad” behavior underground and parents have no way of learning more about their children and intervening when necessary. We had a short conversation where I explained that while it’s okay to dance, some dances are not for children.

Still, I was bothered by the situation because I know that twerking is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of what my children will see and hear and want to mimic. I needed a plan of action for these kinds of events.

A few days later, Tacky Box arrived in the mail. I had never heard of Tacky Box. I didn’t ask for Tacky Box. I didn’t even know it was coming my way. But the universe has a knack of handing you exactly what you need before you even know you need it.

Related: Smack In The Middle: Do Your Words Hurt Or Heal?

Tacky Box is an interactive set that teaches children to choose kindness over tacky language and behavior. The set includes an engaging book, a notepad for writing tacky words and deeds, and a wooden box to leave them in.

I read Margo’s Magnificent Choice with Makayla that evening. (Got boys? Tacky Box can be ordered with Max’s Magnificent Choice.) Written and illustrated by the mother-daughter team Chris Kent Phelps and Cindy Kent, it tells the story of Margo, a monkey who is wonderful in so many ways, but she has a hard time making friends. She unwittingly turns them off with her tacky words. She is introduced to the Tacky Box by a wise old owl and she learns to make better choices with her words.

Makayla loved the story. I asked her a few questions and she got the moral of it right away. She was anxious to get to her Tacky Box to decorate it (the wood is perfectly suited for markers or paint) and write down her tacky words and actions. First on the list of words was “twerk.” We don’t need to hear it or see it!

The front of Makayla's Tacky Box. Photo credit: Alexis Trass Walker

The front of Makayla’s Tacky Box. Photo credit: Alexis Trass Walker

Sophia joined in with her own contributions. I enjoyed doing the activity with them because I got to see my girls use their own reasoning about what’s right and wrong. I was impressed with the conversations we started about hurtful and inappropriate words and phrases.

More impressive was the conversation Makayla and Sophia had with each other. Sophia doesn’t care for joking and teasing, while Makayla rarely leaves a joke untold or a prank unpulled. Makayla sometimes tells Sophia, “You stink.” Sophia suggested that Makayla put that phrase in the Tacky Box. She said, “I just don’t like it when you say that.”

Wonder of wonders, Makayla wrote it down and said she wasn’t going to say it again. She said that she didn’t know it was a tacky word. Without my intervention, an ongoing problem was resolved because of Tacky Box. I had been trying to get Makayla to stop using that hurtful phrase with her sister for a long time. I couldn’t believe how easily Tacky Box facilitated this.

Does Tacky Box work? I can unequivocally say, yes, Yes, YES with my girls and I think it can work for any child. Makayla and Sophia will undoubtedly get bored with Tacky Box or outgrow it, but here we are weeks later and we’re still talking about it and using it. Makayla keeps hearing tacky words at school and is conscientious about removing them from her mind and heart and storing them in the Tacky Box.

A back of view of Tacky Box. Makayla wrote her own note to self. Photo credit: Alexis Trass Walker

A back of view of Tacky Box. Makayla wrote her own note to self. Photo credit: Alexis Trass Walker

Related: Our Story Begins: The Weight Of Words

The bottom line is this: Unless we chain our kids to the bed post, they are going to hear and see things that are completely out of line with how we’re raising them. We have to teach our kids our values and teach them how to respond when they experience contrary values.

Life doesn’t happen in a vacuum and sometimes parents need age-appropriate tools to help kids make good decisions. Tacky Box is just such a tool that I would recommend to every parent with young children. Christmas is coming. It makes a great gift.

Tacky Box is more fun than I thought it would be for the girls and I’m thrilled that it is empowering them. They’re learning, but they don’t really know that. In my book, that’s the mark of an effective teaching tool. My only complaint about Tacky Box is that I didn’t think of it first!

How about your? How do you quash questionable behavior in your kids?

And click here if you’d like to buy a Tacky Box for your family or classroom.