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Charlotte+Asher creates chic diaper bags for the stylish, modern mom.

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Parenthood related topics written by the founders of charlotte+asher.

Filtering by Tag: Gratitute

Giving back at all ages

Chantal Standafer

Gaby showing her jar of "money for the kids"

Gaby showing her jar of "money for the kids"

One of our family values is to be outwardly focused (and part of our company mission). Last year I shared how we were starting to teach our daughter Gaby about being grateful for what she had. And we continue to read books with those themes. But now she’s three and teaching her has grown beyond talking about being thankful. She has started giving to others intentionally.

One of the biggest instances of her giving began over the summer.  We bought floaties to use with the kids in the pool. When we opened up the packages, my very curious little girl asked me about every single piece of information that came along with them. As we were looking through it all, she became fixated on one piece. It was a glossy picture of kids. Unknowingly we had purchased from a company that partners with Operation Smile, an organization that provides free surgeries for children around the world who have cleft lip and cleft palate and other facial deformities.  

Gaby was so fascinated. She kept asking about the kids, who she referred to as “the kids whose lips hurt.”  This was the best way I thought to explain their condition to her. And when we told her that people donate to Operation Smile so the doctors could fix the kid's lips, well she wanted to give to the kids.

But the girl doesn't make money yet. So where did that leave us? My husband and I got to thinking and came up with a couple of solutions. The first is whenever we go out for a treat, we give her the option to get her own or to share. If she splits it, she gets to give the money we would have spent on the treat to the kids. She has a special jar to keep the money in. And so far every time we bring it up, she jumps at the chance to share and give the money away. Our other thought is to come up with a list of extra tasks around the house she can do to earn money. But we have yet to come up with a chores vs extras list. That will come soon though.

Giving resources is not the only way to give to others. Sharing our time can be just as valuable as giving money. There are many opportunities to prepare and serve meals at shelters. Or spending time with an elderly neighbor who doesn't have family around. The act doesn't have to be huge. Need ideas? Check out this month long calendar with a small way to give back to others every day.

How are you sharing with others this season or throughout the year?

 

Teaching thankfulness to the kiddos

Chantal Standafer

As time passes and we quickly approach Thanksgiving (how is it only a week away??), we’ll continue with our thankfulness theme. Having previously looked at having our own thankful attitude and finding your best mom friend, this week we’ll look at teaching gratitude to our little ones.

With a very strong-willed and vocal 2-year-old running around our house, we frequently hear “I want,” followed by more “I want.” Oh, and throw in a bunch of “Mom! Mom!” It’s easy to get bogged down by the demands. (And yes, I need to take my own advice and be thankful that she can express what she wants.) But we’ve found that a great way to break out of the toddler “want” cycle is to teach about being thankful. As we work on instilling this concept in our littles, here are some things we do to teach them:

  • Thankful list: We have been teaching “please” and “thank you” in relation to asking for items, help, etc since before Gaby’s first birthday. And this lay a good foundation for her understanding the concept of being thankful. But now we’re taking it further. Instead of just saying thank you when she receives something for which she has asked, we now engage her in conversation. We ask her what she is thankful for. And oftentimes we get a list of things that are not related to that day’s activities. But that’s okay. We’re getting her thinking about what she’s done and seen during that day (and days prior) and vocalize the good things in her life.

  • Reading books: They love reading, and it’s a great way to keep them quiet and entertained for a bit. Plus, it is a great way to illustrate concepts to little ones. One of our seasonal favorites is Happy Thanksgiving, Curious George, where on the last page George is so excited to share what he is thankful for. While the rest of the book goes over the different things that go into Thanksgiving Day prep, this last part is a perfect illustration of the previous point. It’s a wonderful way to reinforce what we’re teaching and practicing at home.

  • Giving to those who need: Each year, we participate in Boxes of Love, a project to help provide Thanksgiving meals to families in need. This year I took Gaby with me to the grocery store to purchase the items needed to fill the box. As we left to go to the store, I explained to her that we are fortunate to have food to eat, at which point we talked about the snacks she likes. I continued to say that we help others who don’t have as much and need help, in this case by providing food for them. And I got her involved in finding the items in the stores and putting them in the cart (I did have to catch the cans of food that she was pitching into the basket, but well, we’re still working on being gentle). This is one step in helping her think of the positives, of what she does have, and being thankful for that.

In teaching her, it’s a great reminder to myself to practice being thankful. It will take some time for her to fully grasp the concept. But she’s learning quickly and will probably surprise me with her understanding of it way before I expect her to do so. Maybe she’ll even learn to replace “I want” with “I would like”!

How are you teaching your kids to be thankful?

 

 

A thankful attitude: totally worth it

Chantal Standafer

Enjoying some snuggles together while Gaby was sick. 

Enjoying some snuggles together while Gaby was sick. 

With Halloween behind us and Thanksgiving just a few weeks away, the talk has turned from costumes and candy to being thankful (and pumpkin pie). And I’m so excited! It cannot come at a more perfect time. With the birth of our second child 4 months ago (where has the time gone?), life has been absolutely crazy. This season is just what I need for a reset. 

I’ll be the first to admit that life with kids (and life in general!) can be busy and challenging. It’s easy to let their moods and attitudes affect me. On top of that, there’s the impossible to complete to-do list weighing on me. I mean, with a toddler around and the constant repetition and demands, how can it not? But I am in control of the dialogue going through my head.  While at times I may be prone to think “This is so hard!” or “Today is terrible...” , that isn’t going to help me get through my day. I’m not able to control many situations, but I am able to control my thoughts and reactions to them. 

Recently our oldest, Gaby, was sick with a fever. It was so easy to jump to the thoughts of “This sucks!” and “Now we can’t go to the playground or get together with friends.” But quickly I was able to see the positive. I became thankful for the chance to slow down and take a break. Because let’s face it, this mama was tired! And I don’t routinely get to snuggle very much with her, as she is usually bouncing off the walls and jumping through the apartment. So at the end of that day when I was reflecting on it, I was able to say I was thankful for snuggles with Gaby and just getting to sit and put my feet up for a bit. 

I know not every situation is able to be redeemed in this way. Some things happen and they just suck. But overall, this works. By focusing on the good things in my life, my attitude as been better and I have been happier. This affects not only me, but also my family. I’m a better wife and mother. And my kids are happier too! While life presents many ups and downs, by being thankful, my attitude is more positive.  And then things seem much more doable.  If you’re looking for tips in getting started on this, check out this short article.

What are you thankful for today?