There’s something so heartwarming to see my kids practice hospitality as young adults. As parents we spend years teaching them to say ‘please’ and ‘thank you,’ among a host of other manners, so it’s nice to know it eventually pays off!
Arrive with a gift in hand.
Besides the usual table manners regarding napkins, elbows, and full mouths, I taught my kids to never go to a party empty-handed. They would always bring something to share like a bag of chips or soda. Today, it warms my heart when my daughter makes grandma dinner and my son brings her flowers. Recently, my son went to a friend’s in Eastern Washington and I asked him what he brought. After mentioning donuts and some other items he chirped,
This week we were talking with our son about his grades, all Bs and two Cs, and I joked, “I always thought you would get A’s!”
It wasn’t funny like I thought.
I apologized, as I know he does his homework every night. But, then I asked him, “How did that make you feel.” (This is a magical question I’ve come to know).
He said, “It makes me feel stupid, like I’m not good enough.”
I take it back. Is it too late to take it back?
My crash lesson woke me up to the fact that my expectations can have power, and sometimes negative power to discourage and deflate my kid’s self-image.
Start by grouping couples or families into teams each representing a different country and let the competition begin! (You can have them draw the country from several you pre-select). Designate a judge to vote for game winners and to keep the games moving. Make a music play list to add to the competitive mood. Have fun!
Let’s face it, sweets and treats motivate kids! From the time they begin potty training we start reinforcing their behavior with whatever works best. Rewards come in smiles, high fives, a cheerful “good job,” and quite often, a piece of candy or a trip to their favorite restaurant. Much of our cultural celebrations involve food and these are wonderful traditions. There’s nothing wrong with having cake & ice cream for birthdays or going out to eat to celebrate your ‘Student of the Month.’ But what happens when food becomes a prize for just about everything? Think about your family, what food rewards are your doling out on a regular basis?
Too many food rewards have a downside: we learn to eat for emotional reasons, sugar becomes a habit or an addiction, and we pack on the pounds. We’re a product of our time, everyone gets a trophy. If we reward every little accomplishment, we diminish its uniqueness while the overused prize loses its value. We can end up treating ourselves (and our kids) for everyday occurrences, just because we ‘deserve’ it. There has to be a balance.
Try to find other ways to reward your kids and celebrate accomplishments. This is
Children welcome and wish for snow days… a day off from school and a chance to play outside. When the weather keeps you from getting out of the driveway, seize the day. Bundle them up and head outside, you too!
- Summer games seem new in the snow. Try: Tic-Tac -Toe, Hop-Scotch, Follow-the-Leader, and Tag.
- Play Act. Pretend you’re the Grinch, Frosty, or any of your favorite Christmas story characters and reenact you kid’s favorite scenes outside together.
- Build something with snow. Give them shovels and buckets to create roads, forts, cities, creatures, and furniture.
Are you Worried that your Kids are Headed Toward Obesity … before they Grow Up?
We’re a culture obsessed with media-glorified body images and yet our lifestyles are mostly sedentary with a high caloric intake. We live in a contradiction that’s challenging to win. The grocery check-out highlights our dilemma with these two messages: (1) Follow these recipes and indulge, and (2) look like these super-skinny models. Research shows our health is the loser. Both children and adults are experiencing an obesity epidemic. 30% of American children are overweight or obese [i] and 35.7% of adults are obese [ii]. On top of that, our self-esteem wanes as we don’t meet the size and shape expectations we’ve accepted.
No matter how many years have passed since our kids were little, every mom has a vivid grocery store meltdown story. That is our kid’s meltdown, not ours. Well, both are a viable possibility! When I see little children having tantrums at the checkout or hear loud wailing 3 aisles over, all I have is compassion. Even on a good day, packing children in and out while focusing on the task at hand really is a lot of work!
My daughter was sweet and easy, but, my son offered me a strong dose of ‘reality therapy.’ He was like a wild animal throwing things and running off. One time when he
I like the word nostalgia and the images it evokes. I think of my grandma’s house, her pink sinks and mint cupboards, the two pre-set tables – one for adults and one for kids, the colored plastic divided plates we always got to use, and the aroma of delicious food bubbling in the oven. These are my memories of Sunday dinners.
Nostalgia is a wistful desire to return in our minds to a former time in our lives, our homeland, and our relationships. It’s a sentimental yearning for the happiness of a former place or time. (Dictionary.com)
None of our lives are perfect, and maybe that’s what makes nostalgia endearing, because we remember with fondness something that was special in our past, the ‘cream that rose to the top’ of mundane or difficult times.
What is the essence and causes of nostalgia? Think of the input you receive from your five senses and the emotion this stirs. Consider your own heartwarming memory. What
do you see, smell, hear, touch, and taste? How do you feel? Our senses are strong evokers of nostalgia because these “stimuli first pass through the amygdala, the emotional seat of the brain. Music, video games, and weather can also be strong triggers of nostalgia.” (wikipedia.org)
As a new mom, I remember feeling a little pressure if asked about my budding family’s traditions. We were young, growing, and didn’t have any yet. I wanted to create traditions but somehow got overwhelmed by visions of polished scenes from magazines.
Today, I’ve learned you don’t always have to set out to choose a tradition, it can choose you. My husband started adding a splash of 7-Up to my granddaughter’s orange juice for a sparkling treat. This has become an important favorite to her. Every time she spends the night, she remembers and asks for grandpa’s sparkling orange juice with breakfast. A tradition has been born!
The holiday season is filled with family traditions. From decorating a tree together to making a favorite recipe, these traditions are often the things that create the most treasured memories. Carrying on traditions from generation to generation is something special that helps to strengthen a family’s identity. If you have young children, here are some ideas for holiday activities your family could cherish for years to come.
- Between the stress of holiday to-do lists and the anticipation of the day itself, it can be hard to remember to be thankful throughout the holiday season. Create an Advent Calendar that helps your family remain thankful this month by hanging 25 clear plastic fill-able ornaments from a ribbon. Each day, have a member of your family fill an ornament with a note about something they’re thankful for.
- Help your kids give back this holiday season by introducing “Santa’s Toy Swap.” Have your kids pick out old toys to leave under the tree for Santa to take back to the North Pole to repair for other children.