Adventures in Drool: Holiday adventures
I am just not making my deadlines this week droolers. I apologize. Life seems to get faster and faster around the holidays.
Some days I feel like all I do is drive from location to location, work and yet, hardly get anything done. It can be frustrating!
I am trying to stop and prioritize. Have you ever had those moments where you really just need to decide what you can do and what you can't do?
As parents, we so often get stuck in the mode of doing everything for everyone. But, as we often find out, this isn't always possible.
While we want our children to enjoy every aspect of the holiday season, it isn't always possible.
My suggestion is to pick one or two special holiday events - perhaps a local parade or caroling event.
I took Droolface to Caroling on the Circle, which is a holiday caroling event in our town. Besides bringing the holiday excitement of Santa and holiday songs, it is also a food drive for local food pantries. Droolface is still too young to understand food drives or Santa, but my hope is in the future he will be excited to help others during the holiday season.
Getting to these events can be a process in its own, so try not to stress out too much. If it works out, it works out; but if it doesn't, it isn't the end of the world. You could host caroling in your neighborhood or even in your living room.
What are your favorite holiday events for children?
Teaching gratitude to children
The holiday season is a perfect time to help your children learn to be grateful.
"No one is born grateful," says life coach Mary Jane Ryan, author of Attitudes of Gratitude (Conari, 1999) in an interview with Parents magazine. "Recognizing that someone has gone out of the way for you is not a natural behavior for children -- it's learned."
Here are some tips from the magazine on how to help children learn to be grateful:
• Work gratitude into your daily conversation. Two old-fashioned, tried-and-true ideas: Make saying what good things happened today part of the dinnertime conversation or make bedtime prayers part of your nightly routine.
• Have kids help. It happens to all of us: You give your child a chore, but it's too agonizing watching him a) take forever to clear the table or b) make a huge mess mixing the pancake batter. The temptation is always to step in and do it yourself. But the more you do for them, the less they appreciate your efforts. (Don't you feel more empathy for people who work outside on cold days when you've just been out shoveling snow yourself?)
• Find a goodwill project. This is a great holiday project! Help another family or have your child wrap up gifts for another family. Figure out some way he can actively participate in helping someone else, even if it's as simple as making cupcakes for a sick neighbor.
• Encourage generosity.
• Insist on thank-you notes. Younger children can even dictate the letter while you write. Saying thank you can make children more grateful for the gift.
• Practice saying no. Of course kids ask for toys, video games, and candy -- sometimes on an hourly basis. It's difficult, if not impossible, to feel grateful when your every whim is granted. Saying no a lot makes saying yes that much sweeter.
• Be patient. You can't expect gratitude to develop overnight -- it requires weeks, months, even years of reinforcement.
My favorite holiday cookies are snickerdoodles - here's a fun recipe to try with your children this weekend. These have lower sugar and if you are following Weight Watchers, they are only 1 point per cookie!
1 cup butter softened (soft, not runny or melted)
1 ½ cups sugar
2 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons sugar
4 teaspoons cinnamon
Heat oven to 400 degrees.
Put flour, cream of tartar, soda and salt in separate bowl and whisk together. Set it aside.
In larger bowl, mix thoroughly butter, 1 ½ cups sugar and the eggs. Blend in flour, cream of tartar, soda and salt mixture.
Shape dough by rounded teaspoonfuls into balls no bigger than an inch.
Mix 4 tablespoons sugar and 4 teaspoons of cinnamon; roll balls in mixture until they are coated all over.
Place on cool, ungreased baking sheet about 2 inches apart.
Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until set.
Immediately remove from baking sheet onto cooling racks. When in doubt, take them out early. Enjoy!