Acts Of Kindness With Kiddos During The Holidays
Posted by Poonam Singh on Dec 3, 2018
Last weekend, my dear friend Ritu suggested we figure out some way to make the holidays about service again. I was touched by her reaching out to other moms like this.
We discussed how so many feel helpless about the world, but by doing something tangible with the kids that we could help ease some of the pain of this helplessness.
So Ritu had a great idea to meet with our kids and fill bags of food to donate to a food pantry. I added to this idea and suggested we also make a kindness calendar for the month of December--an idea I saw on the internet.
We held a circle for our kids and attempted to do these two activities. The adults had great intentions. :)
I decided that we should hold a circle, as I often do when I find myself upon a group of kids. To my surprise, (since they know this routine,) my older two kids Sanjana and Pranav were rolling around a lot, and not being super engaged. There were two other toddlers were running around the room!!! Hmm...I can feel the lesson slipping away from me!!! When we began packing the bags, it felt a little chaotic with dry pasta flying around the room!!! LOL.
But I decided go with--it's not serious. It's ok! I was proud of me and my friend doing this!!!
Later when I asked my kids what they thought of it, they very honestly told me that they didn't have the greatest time. I thought, “oh boy, parenting fail!” I thought of how I could have done it better, even though some parts were still good (they came up with great kindness ideas for example!). One thing is I could have done was prepared them before and asked them permission if they even wanted to do this. Second I could have respected their need to play- they just wanted to play that day with a friend they hadn't seen in a while. I could understand that. Maybe incorporate more art?
Sometimes however you do something and later it takes shape....
I was so surprised and happy that about a week later.... out of the blue and to my surprise my daughter asked me.... "Mumma, where is our kindness calendar we made?" We found it and Sanjana said it looked messy and wanted to figure out how to make it look neat. I very cautiously asked (not wanting to take this task away from her,) “Do you want to type it up?” Her eyes gleaned with excitement. She said yes and typed it up! Some great practice of writing and typing skills, by the way. And her ideas and my son's ideas for kindness activities were SO SWEET! Hug a friend. Make a card. Smile. Use calm words.
Sanjana and Pranav finished the calendar and felt immense pride for it. From what I am observing and the things they were saying, I could see joy in both of them.
We also got our first Christmas tree ever (a first for me), so we set that up, but she said her friend Charlie celebrates Hanukkah so we found some candles and we learned about that too. I shared my observation that Diwali, Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanza all celebrate light. We discussed the meanings of all these holidays.
So we posted the kindness calendars and tree and lights in our celebration corner. I could see fun & joy from the kids. They also decided to make their own pretend gifts using paper and were building and gluing all morning. They told me they don't need gifts but they like opening up surprises so they will wrap something they already have and then forget what they wrapped and then be surprised! LOL. I love kids.
I felt a sense of redemption!
And some pride with bringing this holiday season back to its core - away from materialism, consumerism, or divisive politics. At the core all these holidays are about oneness, love, and light and SERVICE. And no one holiday should overshadow others.
This was also a little experiment in community-service project-based learning at home!!!!
I am excited to do more with the kiddos!!! And grateful for how much I learn from them.
I'm also grateful for my friend Ritu who started this all with a simple question and intention, and that we did this together as friends. That's all it takes!!!