Tag Archives: Parent Resources

12 Days of Learning | Day 12: Holiday Road Trip

16 Dec

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“Are we there yet?” You’ll probably hear your kids ask this question quite a few times during the holiday season, especially if your family is one of the many that travel an hour or more to get to their holiday destination. As you prepare for your family’s holiday travel plans, keep in mind these five ways to entertain your kids during your holiday road trip:

1. Come up with fun games to play in the car. License plate games can be especially entertaining for kids, and you can find a variety of printable license plate games on Pinterest. Other game ideas include seeing which family member can spot the most animals, cars from a certain state, or Volkswagen Beetles. You can also give small rewards, such as winners getting to choose the music for the next hour.

2. Let kids keep up with where you are and where you’re going next. Give kids a state or U.S. map to help them keep track of your family’s movements. This is a great activity because it helps your kids learn to read maps and keeps them involved while you’re traveling. It also gives kids an idea of how much traveling will be required and how much time your trip will take.

3. Bring along a variety of music and books your kids will enjoy. Kids will enjoy listening to their favorite music or reading their favorite books on road trips. Ragweed, Bear on a Bike, and On the Go are a few books that directly relate to traveling, which children may find interesting since they will be on a road trip themselves. Remember to put music and books on an electronic device for kids to enjoy if you want them to use headphones or want to avoid bringing along a lot of extra books.

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4. Tell stories or talk about where you’re going and what your kids will enjoy there. Use your road trip as a reason to talk with your family. Ask kids what they’re looking forward to during the holidays or what they want to accomplish in the coming year. You can also tell your kids stories from your childhood or talk to them about your destination and what they can expect to do there.

5. Pack your kids’ favorite toys and other activities that will entertain them. Having their favorite toys with them will keep your kids engaged and will also give them a sense of security if they’re going somewhere unfamiliar. Bring along stuffed animals to help comfort younger kids. Activities that let children write and draw, such as the Do Art Travel Easel and Doodle Roll® with Writing Board, are also great items to bring along on your holiday road trip.

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We hope you enjoyed reading our 12 Days of Learning blog posts. Be on the lookout for more fun activities and helpful resources in the coming weeks.

Happy Holidays!

12 Days of Learning | Day 2: Christmas in Other Countries

2 Dec

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The holiday season is a great time to teach kids about diversity and how to appreciate differences. Research the ways people celebrate Christmas in other countries and then share what you find with your kids this holiday season. Children will love learning about how other people celebrate Christmas because it is something they can relate to and will find interesting. Here are a few facts from TLC’s Christmas Guide to help you get started:

Did You Know?

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– In China, Christmas trees are called “trees of light” and are decorated with lanterns, flowers, and red paper chains.

– In France, Christmas Day ends with the traditional bûche de Noël, which is a cake made to look like a Yule log.

– In Mexico, homes are decorated with lilies and evergreens during the Christmas season.

– In England, children send letters to Father Christmas by tossing their letters into the fire to help their wishes go up the chimney.

Keep in mind that Christmas is a good time to remind kids that people also celebrate different holidays and have different holiday traditions in the United States. Hanukkah and Kwanzaa, for example, are two holidays you can talk to children about at this time of the year. Here is some basic information about Hanukkah and Kwanzaa from the History Channel to help you get started with your research:

Fast Facts

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Hanukkah is an eight-day holiday celebrated by the Jewish community. Hanukkah usually falls in November or December and is often called the Festival of Lights. The lighting of the menorah, traditional Hanukkah foods (which are fried in oil), playing games, and exchanging gifts are just a few of the ways people celebrate Hanukkah.

Created in 1966 by Dr. Maulana Karenga, Kwanzaa is a seven-day harvest celebration meant to help bring the African-American community together. Singing, dancing, storytelling, poetry reading, African drums, and traditional food are part of the celebrations that start on December 26. The Nguzo Saba, which are seven principles that embody values of African culture, are discussed and celebrated each of the seven nights.

The holidays are a great time to teach your kids about acceptance and diversity, but remember to reinforce what they learn throughout the year. Books, puzzles, and games about diversity will help teach kids about differences and will help them learn that it’s okay to be different.

Check back tomorrow for Day 3 of our 12 Days of Learning!

Happy Holidays!

Five Ways to Encourage Charity and Help Kids Give Back

26 Nov

The commercialization of the holiday season can make it easy to forget that the holidays are supposed to be about giving instead of receiving.  Many children are so focused on the gifts they receive that parents often question whether their children are too self-absorbed to realize that they should be grateful for what they have in their lives. One way to help children be more grateful and understand the true meaning of the holiday season is to teach them about charity.KT_encourageChairity

Importance of Raising Charitable Kids

We discussed the importance of raising a grateful child in a previous blog post, but it is also important to teach children about charity because the two topics are deeply intertwined. People are more likely to be charitable if they are grateful, but being charitable can also cause people to develop an increased gratitude for what they have in life.

In a study recently published in PLoS ONE, researchers from the University of British Columbia found that giving to others makes children happier than when they receive something. The study also found that children who sacrificed something of their own gained more happiness than children who gave something that did not cost them anything. This suggests that children have a natural, genuine concern for others and can benefit from being charitable at a young age.

Learning to be charitable as a child will also help children experience the benefits of giving to others when they become adults. As reported by Maia Szalavitz in Time, volunteering regularly can decrease early mortality rates by 22%, reduce chances of depression, and increase a person’s life satisfaction and happiness. These scientific findings prove that encouraging children to volunteer and help others at an early age will help them live longer and happier lives.

Five Ways to Encourage Charity

Teaching kids to give back and help others isn’t always easy, especially if your family is pressed for time, but the benefits your family gains from helping others will be well worth any scheduling conflicts you have to conquer. The following five tips are great ways for you to encourage charity and help your kids and family give back to the community:

1. Be a good role model.

If you want your children to be charitable, it’s important for you to set a positive example for them to follow. This doesn’t mean you have to head a fundraising committee or spend a lot of hours volunteering; small and simple charitable acts can have just as much of an impact on children as the larger ones. Giving any spare change you have, donating gently used items, or buying extra food to take to your local food bank are all great ways to show your child that you think helping others is important.

2. Talk to your children about charity.

Have a greater impact with children by making an effort to talk to them about charity in conjunction with being a good role model. Women Give 2013, a study by the Women’s Philanthropy Institute at Indiana University, found that “talking to children about charity has a greater impact on children’s giving than role modeling alone.” The study also found that talking to children about charity and helping others is “equally effective” regardless of the parent’s income level or the child’s gender, race, and age. Encourage discussions about charity at the dinner table or after children do something charitable. It’s better to give them an explanation of why what they’re doing matters instead of just telling them that they need to do it. Reading books, such as The Lion and the Mouse and the books in our Learn to Get Along Book Set, can also help you and your kids discuss the importance of helping others.

3. Make giving to others a family tradition.

Making charity a family tradition will help your children feel more comfortable volunteering and will also provide additional opportunities for you to be a good role model for your kids. One popular tradition for many families this time of the year is to volunteer at soup kitchens, homeless shelters, or food banks. These types of volunteer experiences are good for older children, but you may want to consider other ways to give back if you have young children. In a recent article, CNBC’s Kelley Holland reports that families with young children should skip volunteering at soup kitchens because kids do not learn as much from the experience since they cannot help serve hot food or be around stoves and knives. Volunteering at toy drives or delivering fruit baskets and gifts to hospitals and the elderly may be more appropriate charitable family traditions when your children are younger.

4. Come up with creative ways to give back.

You don’t have to volunteer in soup kitchens or serve the homeless a Thanksgiving meal in order to be charitable. Donating gifts for Toys for Tots or for the Salvation Army Angel Tree are great ways for your family to give back this time of the year. You can also make giving back a little more personal for your kids by having them create their own projects or make their own greeting cards to send to soldiers or the elderly. Many charities have a spike in volunteers during November and December, so try to think of places that may not be getting the volunteers they need this time of the year. If an organization has all the help they need right now, it’s best for you to find a charity truly in need of the help your family can give.

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5. Pick charity projects that your kids and family will enjoy.

Strive to pick charity projects that let your children see how their actions truly impact and help others because the concrete evidence they gain from those experiences will help reinforce the value of charity. Your family will enjoy and learn more from the projects they can connect with, so try to find projects that match your family’s interests, hobbies, and charitable causes. Another idea is for your family to come up with your own unique project to help meet an unmet need in the community. If your family is really busy during the holiday season, then come up with charity projects you can do together as a family at other times of the year. Try donating food items during the summer months, playing a baseball game for charity, or running a 5K race as a family to benefit an important cause. Remember that it’s always a good idea to encourage your children to be charitable and give back throughout the year.

References

Aknin, Lara B., J. Kiley Hamlin, and Elizabeth W. Dunn. “Giving Leads to Happiness in Young Children.” PLoS ONE. PLoS ONE 7.6 (2012): 3. PDF file. 18 Nov. 2013.

Holland, Kelley. “Teaching kids charity? Skip the soup kitchen trip.” CNBC. CNBC LLC, 18 Oct. 2013. Web. 15 Nov. 2013.

Szalavitz, Maia. “Helping Others Helps You to Live Longer.” Time. Dow Jones & Company, Inc., 23 Aug. 2013. Web. 15 Nov. 2013.

“Women Give 2013: New Research on Charitable Giving by Girls and Boys.” Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis. Indiana University’s Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, 2013. PDF file. 15 Nov. 2013.

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