Family

3 Ways to Cultivate Kindness in Your Children This Holiday Season

3 Ways to Cultivate Kindness in Your Children This Holiday Season

Kindness and concern for others are regarded as moral virtues in almost every society and major religion. Unfortunately, unadulterated kindness is rare to find in today’s society. Many feel there has been a steady decline in values, and that individual advancement is becoming more and more significant than the ability to care for others. What is most overwhelming, however, is that this tide of unkindness is now reaching children.

A survey conducted by Sesame Street called “K is for Kind: A National Survey on Kindness and Kids,” unveiled that 70% of parents say the world is unkind to their children and 58% of teachers say most children today are disrespectful. Most people are quick to blame other societal factors for this. Some might say it’s the lack of kindness ailing new generations. However, it is clear that parenthood is a direct correlation. Most importantly, this survey helped us realize the importance of actively teaching kindness to children. Therefore, here are a few simple ways you can spark your kid’s wish to help – and what better time than the holidays to do so.

Assign Chores

To truly demonstrate that kindness is a core value, try assigning chores to your children. Kids should understand that a certain amount of help is needed from them, and for no particular reason. Therefore, assigning tasks such as making their beds, cleaning the table, and washing dishes is an integral part of their understanding of kindness. By making them aware that they are not getting anything in return, you are instilling in them an innate obligation to help. Then, kindness will slowly become an instinctive character trait.

Share the Wealth

Teach your children to see the abundance around them and to think of people to share it with. Is your child’s room overflowing with toys and other personal items? Tell them that in order to purchase something else, they must first donate something they own to a donation center. To really bring the point home, make sure you demonstrate this as well. Baked too many cookies this Thanksgiving? Invite your child to take them to your neighbors. By doing this constantly, children will begin to see kindness as an inherent part of life. They will then find opportunities to help others without expectations of them returning the favor.

Notice

This might seem counterintuitive, but praising your child when they do something nice for someone else is a fool-proof tactic to teach them kindness. According to David Schonfeld, M.D., director of development and behavioral pediatrics of Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, children are hardwired to be considerate and kind. He notes that kids help others primarily because it helps them get what they want. However, kids then do acts of kindness because they know they will be praised by their parents and loved ones. It is through this praise that they begin to anticipate the needs of others. Ultimately, it becomes intrinsically rewarding to be considerate and they begin to reflect true kindness with no expectation of praise.

Being kind to others feels good. It helps us step back from our own troubles and creates a sense of interconnectedness with the people around us. Let’s not forget the important role of kindness in our lives and let’s remind ourselves to teach it to our little ones in these three simple ways.

Pete and Rachael Herschelman3 Ways to Cultivate Kindness in Your Children This Holiday Season
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How to Stay Connected When You’re Busy

How to Stay Connected When You’re Busy

“You will never find time for anything. If you want time, you must make it.”
-Charles Buxton

Between thriving careers and active families, it’s common to feel that you’re too busy for weekly outings with your spouse. However, if we are honest with ourselves, we know that the level of personal importance (not a lack of time) is the only true differentiating factor between the tasks we pursue and the activities we skip. Once you come to the realization that you do have the time needed to focus on your spouse, you’ll no longer find “business” as a valid reason to neglect the quality time that marriages need to survive. If you’d like to know how to stay connected, even when you’re busy, check out these three steps.  

Discuss the Meaning of “Connection”

The most important aspect of maintaining a strong connection with your spouse is communication. By initiating a discussion that covers the specific details of what it means to be “connected,” you can build from a shared understanding of each other’s needs. For some, remaining connected means feeling romantically involved with their partner. For others, a healthy connection only requires a few minutes of daily conversation. There is no right or wrong when it comes to your personal definition of connection, but you do need to know what your spouse desires from you. Many couples agree that holding on to a steady connection requires quality time spent together, but that too can be defined in various ways depending on each person’s perspective. Can time spent together doing household chores be defined as quality time? Or is it only quality time if it is planned, memorable and filled with undivided attention from your partner? Take your spouse’s answers to these questions, compare them with your own and work together to meet halfway.

Be Intentional

Once you’ve determined what staying connected looks like in your marriage, you can create a plan to work quality time into your busy schedule. Both of you should gather any work calendars, appointment schedules or agendas and start by finding an available time that you both consistently have open. Choose that day or time to focus on rekindling the fire. Refer back to the initial conversation you had with your spouse and schedule some time to talk, date or relax together. Remember, there is no incorrect way to go about investing quality time as long as your plan meets the needs of your spouse. Once you’ve chosen a day and time, put it in on your schedule as a long-standing appointment. After writing it in stone, stick to it! Treat your connection time with the same respect you’d give a work meeting. Prioritize your time together. Don’t shirk your responsibility just because your spouse is understanding and canceling doesn’t seem to hold much consequence. Be intentional about devoting time to your relationship and proving to your spouse that in spite of a full schedule, they matter most.

Take Advantage of Spontaneous Opportunities

Lastly, don’t pass on spontaneous fun. Every now and again you and your partner will have a break in your schedule that wasn’t planned but is available. Don’t let the opportunity slip away by filling the time with work or chores – use it to surprise your spouse with a last minute date. You’ve already covered your bases by keeping your scheduled marriage dates, but spontaneity is a vital part of any long term relationship, too. After some time, the expected can become monotonous and the novelty can wear off. Remedy that by using spontaneous opportunities to keep your spouse on their toes.

Investing time into your relationship is always worth the effort. Your spouse is one of the most important people in your life and should be treated as such. When things are well on the home front that positivity can influence other areas of your life. Take these three steps and make the choice to never be too busy to prioritize the success of your marriage.

Pete and Rachael HerschelmanHow to Stay Connected When You’re Busy
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3 Reminders To Build Strong Bonds With Your Children

3 Reminders To Build Strong Bonds With Your Children

With so many parenting tips and advice out there, it is so easy for parents to feel overwhelmed or confused. However, a close look at all the how to’s and must do’s may make you realize that everything just boils down to one essential factor. This is that parents who want to raise happy and successful kids should focus on forming a strong and positive connection with their children.

Just imagine the wonderful sense of fulfillment you would feel if your little ones trust you and freely share ideas with you? When you have a positive relationship with your children, you give them strong emotional security that they will carry with them for the rest of their lives. Parenting books give you endless lists of things to do so you can form a special bond with your child. As you work your way to become the best parent you can be, make sure that you do not forget the following crucial points as well:

Do not forget to shower them with affection

Everybody wants to raise a responsible child. To achieve this you would probably prioritize instilling discipline early in life. In setting rules and restrictions, some parents may hold off showing affection for fear that the child may not take them seriously. However, parents should remember that being overly affectionate will not spoil their child. In fact, physical gestures such as hugging and snuggling provide numerous benefits upon children. Among many other things, affection increases confidence, reduces anxieties, and prevents tantrums. Research published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health showed that infants with affectionate mothers can easily cope with stress as adults. So of all the things you have to be scared of, do not be afraid to show your children how much you love and appreciate them through physical and verbal affection.

Do not forget to focus on the moment

Parenting is hard work. It is a 24/7 job filled with sleepless nights and stressful days. It is easy to get caught up in a routine and the tasks you have to accomplish. You may get to achieve great things this way. However, the downside is that you may forget to be in the moment. Do not forget that your children will never be this young or innocent ever again. Time passes by so fast and once it is gone, you can never take it back. So make it a priority to enjoy these precious years by giving them your undivided time and attention. This means that when you sit down to talk to them, you make them feel your presence. It may mean removing gadgets or other distractions that may ruin the moment. This way, you get to listen intently to the things they have to say and you get to know each other better.

Do not forget that they are not your possessions

A poem from the famous writer, Kahlil Gibran has an opening line that says, “Your children are not your children.” It is a gentle reminder that even if you are fully responsible for your children, you cannot fully control or manipulate them because they have their own minds and unique personalities. As a parent, your goal is not to show where they have to go but to help them discover the best path for themselves. When you accept and respect your child as an individual, you give them a chance to nurture their innate talents and achieve their full potential.

In the end, there is no exact formula or detailed steps to take on how you can form a special bond with your child. However, there is one thing that you must always remember as you raise your kids – that every effort you do out of love for your children matters. Your child will surely appreciate and cherish the special bond you have with them all their lives.

Pete and Rachael Herschelman3 Reminders To Build Strong Bonds With Your Children
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Fourth of July Party Games for All Ages

Fourth of July Party Games for All Ages

The more the merrier. And The Fourth of July is no different. Who doesn’t love spending this holiday surrounded by friends and family? Spice up your Fourth of July by throwing a party or hosting a picnic and wow your guests with some fun and patriotic games that will entertain all ages!

Patriotic Balloon Pop

Blow up a bunch of red, white, and blue balloons, and place a note saying “You Win!” in one of the balloons. Have guests pop the balloons to find the note and win a prize.

Baseball Game

After all, baseball is America’s favorite pastime. Get everyone involved in a baseball game. Encourage those who aren’t playing to be cheerleaders or coaches for the younger children.

Water Balloon Dodgeball

It’s always a scorcher on the Fourth, so cool everyone down with some water balloon dodgeball. Divide the guests into two teams and throw red, white, and blue balloons at each other. If you’re hit, then you’re out. The last man standing is the winner!

Costume Contest

Who says you can only dress up on Halloween? Have your guests arrive in their best Independence Day costume and have everyone vote for the best dressed and most creative.

American History Trivia

Divide your guests into teams and challenge everyone with trivia on American history. Don’t forget to throw some easy ones in there so the kids can stay excited and involved as well!

Watermelon Eating Contest

Who doesn’t love watermelon? Cut some watermelons into fourths and lay them on the table. Have your guests place their hands behind their backs and eat their watermelon without their hands. The first to finish wins!

These Fourth of July games are perfect for the young and the young at heart. Check out our Pinterest board for more 4th of July party games! What Fourth of July games do you like to play with your friends and family?

Pete and Rachael HerschelmanFourth of July Party Games for All Ages
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