Christmas

Young Children Have Kind Hearts – Ways Kids Can Be Kind

Young children have kind hearts and there are ways that we can encourage kids to be kind. Kindness is a great way to finish one year and start the next.

Some acts of kindness depend on the age of children and what’s in the community. Here is a poster with some ideas. Acts of kindness don’t have to be random, they can be planned.  Is there one or more you and your child can do?

random acts of kindness for kids

One way kids learn kindness is, of course, from the example of parents and other adults. Kids copy our behaviors and when we show kindness to others, so do kids. When we notice a child doing something kind, we can acknowledge their effort. A simple, “I saw you be kind to that person. Did you know you were doing something kind?” invites kids to tell us about what they were doing and gives them a chance to feel good about themselves.

Children will also respond to the messages in stories and books. Check out your local library or bookstore. Often, animals are the main characters from as small as an ant to as big as a lion, as peaceful as a little bird, or as ferocious as a lion. You can also make up a story with your child as the main character and tell about how s/he was kind one day.

With young children, we sometimes need to show them how to be kind. We can take a child’s hand and gently pat a cat or dog. We can notice a child all alone on the playground and use words to invite that child to come play too.

At Christmas, the Grinch’s heart grew three sizes. Young children have kind hearts and when kids engage in a random or planned act of kindness, we are helping their kind hearts grow too. Is this something you think is important for your child?

Kids Need Different Kinds of Play: What kind does your child need?

kids need different kinds of playChildren follow a similar path of developmental milestones; just like adults have different jobs, kids need different kinds of play. What does yours need?

Being sensitive to children’s needs means recognizing some kids need vigorous outside play, some miss the social aspect of daycare or preschool and would like a friend to play with, and some need quiet, alone time. In the midst of all the great events and presents of the season, if kids seem unsettled, or cranky, it could be we are not recognizing how they need to play.

Figuring out what kind of play meets the needs of the child is tricky. You might get some clues from what you are feeling. Are you craving some alone time? Are you desperate to talk to somebody, anybody? Kids do not have the same personalities as parents and caregivers but asking yourself these questions and listening to the answers may trigger some hints about solutions.

You may have already suggested about ten things to your child and have had lukewarm or negative responses but something will click. Following, are a few suggestions you might not have tried.

kids need different kinds of play

Book and Lap: A few minutes snuggled on a lap sharing a book or story is often welcome. There’s been so much going on and a lap is a safe, secure space. It’s a positive way to get a few minutes of attention and connection.

Blanket Fort: Crawling under a table or behind a sofa could be an indication a child wants some distance but still be included in the action. A quick fort is a sheet, blanket, or really big tablecloth spread over a table. Kids can crawl under for some world-within-a-world time.

Puzzle It Out: Kids may be feeling insecure and uncertain about the changes in the routine. A puzzle or train set up in the middle of the kitchen or living room gives the child something to do while being close to the adults. There’s a chance the adults will pop-in every now and then to put in a piece of the puzzle or have a turn. Blocks or construction toys are other possibilities. The very same train in a child’s room is not the same toy spread out in the kitchen. Kids need different kinds of play but that could be the same play just in another place.

what children learn as they play with trains

Playdate: Any comments from your child about friends from daycare, preschool, or play programs? You might suggest inviting a friend over to play or watch your child’s reaction. If your little one lights up like a Christmas tree, that’s a good indication of a need to connect with a friend. On the other hand, if your child is reluctant or unenthusiastic, that might not be the best choice either.

Water in the Sink or Tub: Warm water play can meet many different needs. It seems to wash away tension and stress and soothe worries. For minds spinning with curiosity and questions, it invites exploration and discovery. Run some water in the sink or tub, toss in some small containers and spoons, and let kids play. Any new toys that could use a wash and rinse? One thing about water play, clean up doesn’t mean more of a mess. Usually…

math in the bath

Kids bouncing off the walls doesn’t necessarily mean they need vigorous, loud play-time, preferably outside. That might just be the ticket to restore some sanity in the day, for the adults if not for the kids. Part of the problem is kids can’t tell us in words what they need, only in behavior. Whatever it is, play will be part of the answer. Kids need different kinds of play. How do you figure out what kind your child needs?

 

 

Play-of-the-Day: Holiday Outside Play Time

Some lucky kids and families get time for winter play. Did your kids get any outside toys? It might be a great day for holiday outside play time. Dress for the weather and head outdoors to try out those skis, skates, sleighs, toboggans, wagons and bikes.

transportation activities playground fun

Holiday time plus winter usually means more time indoors, so kids might not be the only ones ready to go outside. Backyards, parks, playgrounds, and hills have room for play. With or without equipment, there will be things to do. Besides sliding, skating, or skiing, kids just like to run around. If there’s fresh snow, mark off some paths for playing Fox and Geese, or Santa and reindeer. Follow the Leader is another fun game in the snow. It’s also fun in the grass and dirt.

Being outside is great for bodies. Not only do muscles get lots of exercise, immune systems get a boost from the physical activity. Brains get exercise too as kids solve problems, make choices, and fire up imaginations. Kids and grownups release stress and tension and, if there’s sun, soak up Vitamin D. Excess energy is sometimes a sign that kids need help in order to relax. Outside has more space than inside to be loud and active.

The feel of the fresh air and vigorous movement can refresh the senses. Even though the colors are grey, brown, and white at this time of year, there’s still lots to see. Many birds have gone south, but a few winter ones may be hopping around looking for food. Are there any birds to hear in your area? Noses might smell the wood from fireplaces. Best of all is the taste of hot chocolate after having some holiday outside play time.

holiday outside play time

In the northern half of the planet, the hours of daylight are much shorter. Often, when families get home on regular weekdays, it’s already dark. Over the holidays, with days at home, there could be more time for playing outside. Will this be your child’s play-of-the-day?

Fun Ways Kids Can Say Thank You After Christmas

We’re almost back to regular day routine, but before it gets forgotten, there’s one detail. Here are some fun ways kids can say thank you after Christmas. In the midst of all the excitement, we need to pause and say thank you. Kids are not too young and there’s more than one way to express … Continue reading Fun Ways Kids Can Say Thank You After Christmas

After Christmas –  The Best Gift for Kids is PLAY

The day after Christmas comes without the celebration but, without doubt, the most wonderful present of all because the best gift for kids is play. Hasn’t that been the reason for giving them new toys and adventures, to encourage and extend their play? So today’s play-of-the-day is do that, to play. Sometimes, the adults are … Continue reading After Christmas –  The Best Gift for Kids is PLAY

Fun Christmas Eve Traditions for Kids – What Are Yours?

Finally, the day is almost here and it’s time for fun Christmas Eve traditions for kids. Some might be generations old, some new and unique for your family. Around the world, kids leave cookies and milk for Santa and a carrot for the reindeer. With eight reindeer and Rudolph, maybe they take turns eating the … Continue reading Fun Christmas Eve Traditions for Kids – What Are Yours?

Baking Christmas Cookies with Kids – Why Leave Cookies for Santa?

Today’s play-of-the-day is a favorite activity for this time of year, baking Christmas cookies with kids. What’s the top cookie at your house? And why do we leave cookies for Santa? I don’t know about your FB feed, but there were and still are lots of posts for baking cookies yesterday and today. From all … Continue reading Baking Christmas Cookies with Kids – Why Leave Cookies for Santa?

Stockings or Socks – Christmas Sock Fun for Kids

“The stockings were hung by the chimney with care…” but there’s more to do that that, how about some ways to have Christmas sock fun for kids? After all, stockings is a fancy word for socks. Socks make great puppets. Any sock can be slipped over a hand and instantly becomes a character. All that’s … Continue reading Stockings or Socks – Christmas Sock Fun for Kids

Longest Night Stargazing for Kids – May Help Fear of the Dark

What to do on the shortest day of the year? Night starts in the afternoon so there’s plenty of time for this activity: longest night stargazing for kids. It’s something to anticipate all day long, but no worries because the day part seems so short. When it’s dark enough, dress for the weather and go … Continue reading Longest Night Stargazing for Kids – May Help Fear of the Dark

Kids Christmas Yoga Poses – Fun and Calming (also for Grownups)

Excitement growing at your house? Here are a few kids Christmas yoga poses shared from last year that are both fun and calming. Hmmm…maybe adults need them too. Catch a Snowflake: Go down on all fours, kneeling on your knees. (This is the table pose.) Lift your head up, tilt it back, and open your … Continue reading Kids Christmas Yoga Poses – Fun and Calming (also for Grownups)