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

Filtering by Tag: thankful

Thankful for...fresh starts

Chantal Standafer

Starting off a new day with the little ones. 

Starting off a new day with the little ones. 

With Halloween behind us, it’s full steam ahead to Thanksgiving. Well, unless you walked into Target this week, in which case we’re already onto Christmas. But holiday decor aside, in the spirit of thankfulness, we’ll be focusing on this theme for the next few weeks.

In our house these days, we have one very talkative three-year-old (Gaby) and a sixteen-month-old (Boyd), who appears to be teething half of his teeth. In classic threenager fashion, Gaby talks, raising her voice to make sure that she’ll be heard loud and clear. If I am in the middle of something, she then clings to me to grab my attention. Boyd has been a little whiny and wanting to be held a lot. The need for some personal space and quiet is creeping up and up, often rather quickly.

Sometimes I can handle it well. As in the kids take a nap at the same time and I can get a little quiet time, or a nap if I’m really lucky. But other times things pile up, the kids are practically both climbing on me for attention, and well, I kind of lose it. I’ll be short with them, reacting in ways that are not the most loving. And I’m unhappy about it.

But you know what? Every day will not be great. On occasion I wake up on the wrong side of the bed. So it’s unrealistic to expect my kids to be on their A game every single day. But I can choose how I behave and interact with them. And you know what, even if I have a rough day, the great news is that it does not have to be crushing. After years of holding onto the things I did wrong each day and things that I did not accomplish, my focus has recently changed. I now realize that I do not have to be burdened by the past. No matter what happens,  tomorrow comes and it’s a brand new day.  

So there you have it. The big thing I’m thankful for is that with each day I have a fresh start. Each day starts new (even if my task list carries over!), I can learn from the past and I have the chance to make different (hopefully better) decisions than the day before.

What is one thing you’re thankful for in this busy season?

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?