Over the past eight years, our kids have had their share of bad days — stomachaches, grumpy friends, surprise puddles! There’s not much you can do, right? Well, last week, my friends Tim and Abbey had a magical idea of how to turn things around…

Their nine-year-old son was having a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. As he and Abbey headed home that evening, she texted her husband a quick head’s up: “We’re coming in hot! Alex had a rough day.” She steeled herself for a long evening.

But then.

As the elevator doors opened to their floor, they saw a sign. “We were both surprised,” my friend Abbey said. “Alex was like, whaaaaaat? And we have some neighbors who are sticklers for the rules of the building, so we never put anything in the hallway.”

As they walked in the apartment door, Tim announced that he was going to cast a spell to turn the day around.

“I made the spell up on the fly,” Tim told me. “I made Alex run around and get a glass of water, a pen and two pieces of paper. I asked him to draw the moon (with as much realistic detail as possible) on one piece of paper and tape it on the wall. On the other piece, I made him write as many bad words (including swears!) as he could while I timed him, then crumple it up and put it in the glass of water. While the paper disintegrated, he had to tell me what had gone wrong that day. He told me about a misunderstanding with his teacher, and then I made him spin around five times while listening to Led Zeppelin’s ‘The Ocean.'”

How sweet and funny is that? And it worked. “By the end, Alex was in hysterics, giggling,” says Abbey. “The signs and spells were hilarious, and really what Tim was giving Alex was his attention.”

Whenever our kids have had wobbly times in school or life, I’ve tried to heed this advice from food writer Jenny Rosenstrach: “You just make sure that when those [kids] walk in that door every day… they never doubt that home is the most comforting place for them to be. That is what you can do.”

I think these signs got it just right. :)

P.S. Home as a haven, and happiness vs. wholeness. And Abbey’s beauty uniform!