For the month of December, we’re asking:
What’s It All About?
We know that our readers celebrate many different holidays this month. Our intention is to bring clarity to these holiday celebrations.
We decided to start, by talking about Holiday Wish Lists. Wish lists bring so many wonderful opportunities for children.
Firstly, they are a great literacy project for preschoolers and early school-aged kids. There is something wonderful about sitting down with a small child to help them print a wish list, or draw a picture of some things that they would like. Perhaps this will involve a letter to Santa or just a list for the grandparents. Either way, it is a time for connection and focused time for reading and printing.
Wish lists are different than Get Lists.
Wish lists also allow our kids to dream about things they might like to have. They provide an opportunity for our kids to learn delayed gratification (having to wait to see if they will get some of the things on the list,) and they teach our kids how it feels to not get everything on the list – and that they can handle it.
For parents, these are 3 great teaching opportunities. We also believe that wish lists are a great strategy to use with kids throughout the year when their continued asking for things leads to parental annoyance. A great response to those pleas is:
“We won’t be getting that right now. Is it something you would like to add to your wish list?”
Year round wish lists work well for when birthdays or other gift occasions pop up, as well as for teaching kids how to save some money for something they really want.
As we stated above, wish lists are not necessarily get lists. It is not a parent’s responsibility to run around and buy everything on a child’s list. In fact, while that may be done with the best of intentions, it may not be providing a child with the opportunity to learn that she can live without all of the stuff. When there is too much of anything, none of it is particularly valued and appreciated.
We hear from parents who feel frustrated at having worked hard (and shopped hard) to provide their child with everything, only to find him sitting “bored” at the end of opening gifts and not really valuing anything. He’s built the Lego project once – now what’s next? She’s baked one thing in the special oven, now what’s the next toy she can get?
How will kids learn that they have enough stuff?
Talking about it just isn’t good enough. When we say, “You should be grateful for what you have,” and then we buy them something the next day, our actions are telling them to ignore what they have. (Kids learn about 75% of what they learn from us through our actions).
In a recent article, we read about the magic of a mandarin orange in the toe of a a Christmas stocking. There was a time when those oranges only appeared in stores at the end of December. Children would be thrilled to open the orange, smell it and then savour the sweet, tangy flavour of the special treat. Now, these oranges are available for many months and kids will bypass the fruit for the other stuff. The value of the orange has diminished, and it is not alone.
So today we’re asking you:
What are the holidays all about for your family?
What messages would you like your kids to learn?
What traditions and values are important for you to teach your kids this season?
Does your child’s wish list = a get list?
How will you teach your kids about enough?
Can your child handle it if you don’t buy any toys or treats this month before your gift-giving holiday?
We’re asking these questions to help you set your family’s intention for this month. There is more than one right way to parent. Take some time to thing about yours.