Kids can join in New Year’s Resolutions too! Many of your children might already have a ‘reward board’ or sticker chart, where their daily or weekly goals/responsibilities are laid out and rewarded with smiley faces or stickers that accumulate to prizes or rewards. This same concept can be outlined for some kids (probably age 4 and up) with a New Year’s Resolution. Maybe you choose, or they choose, a large goal that they can work toward. Something simple that they can surely accomplish without much additional ‘keeping track’, such as; read 3 books by the end of the year, donate 1 old toy each month to a shelter for other families, help with household chores once/month, prove myself responsible for a pet, make a new friend at school. The reward is the confidence your child will develop and the sense of ability in setting and keeping a goal. It’s not too early! It may even help you stay on track with your resolution by having someone that looks up to you, hold you accountable to your goals and commitments to yourself.
Volunteer with your kids!!
For me, personally, volunteer work has been the most significant and life-changing experiences in my life. Being deployed with the Red Cross to the Southern United States for Hurricane Katrina and working at the Senior Center in Sunnyvale, CA were among the most recent and significant for me. When I gave birth to my daughter, I couldn’t wait to experience these same life-changing moments with her. I couldn’t wait to teach her what it was like to be selfless, compassionate and humble. Soon after did I realize that you cannot expect or hope for a child under the age of 4 years-old to be a selfless human being, as their considerably self-absorbed in their own growth and discovery. However now that she is 4, I can see many different options where I can share these giving moments with her. In one instance we were at the grocery store and a young girl was handing out pamphlets with a list of grocery items they were looking for to donate to a local shelter. We went to the canned soup aisle and I had my daughter choose 4 different soup options that she wanted to give to “families that didn’t have enough money to buy food”. She chose 4 soups with meat in it (even though I’m a vegetarian and it’s against my cause), however I said not a word and supported her choices in donation. She was so proud to hand the cans of soup to the young girl taking the donations. “These are for the families that don’t have money to buy food” she said as she handed over the cans. Other forms of donation or volunteer work is; bake sales, walks for charity (a lot of times, these can be for kids of young ages to be involved in, you can bring strollers on long walks, as I’ve done previously for our own Instructor’s walks for Brain Tumor awareness.
Culturally Diverse Children
Teaching your children from an early age to be culturally diverse, not only expands their knowledge of other cultures, but makes them more tolerant individuals as well. ‘A good portion of bullying is ‘bias-oriented’: It happens when kids have trouble accepting another child’s differences.’* So teaching children empathy and respect for one another is a great starting place for change. Now days, many of us either come from a culturally blended family ourselves or speak multiple languages at home. This is great! We can start with our own heritage and cultures, creating your families personal traditions, if you haven’t already. Next we can expand beyond our own cultures and learn about other cultures, outside of our own.
Teaching children about culture doesn’t have to be only in the race and the countries themselves, but could be in the holidays, traditions, languages, history or foods of another culture or country. It’s not only learning for your child, but probably for yourself as well and it’s fun! I thoroughly enjoy learning along side my daughter.
*ParentingMagazine, Issue 263, May 2012, page 60. ‘Culture Blind’, Teri Cettina
Spring into Spring with the entire family! Plant vegetables/flowers. Bring the kids with you to the gardening store to learn about all the different vegetables and plants,
differing textures and colors etc. Have your kid/s pick out their favorites
(making sure it’s season appropriate & with the right about of sun &
water, etc. Ask an associate if you’re not sure). Plant together! I pre-made my
own raised vegetable beds (research before doing this because you need treated
wood and an EPA approved sealant). The kids will enjoy watching these grow,
watering them, and picking the vegetables, fruits or flowers when they bloom!
They’ll be so proud and learn a lot while giving thanks back to Mother Nature,
all at the same time. Spring is the perfect time to plant before Summer.