A lot of kids we know have regular play dates, some on a nearly daily basis. And that’s okay for lots of families, but it doesn’t work for us…and it doesn’t work for our kids. Truthfully, saying no often makes us the odd family out, and in the past, I would find myself making excuses as to why we couldn’t commit. But now I’m usually okay to just admit that we don’t do a lot of play dates, especially after school. Despite the worry that we’re missing out at times, I know that our family is better off because we say no a lot more than we say yes.
Do you remember Christmas as a kid? I do. I remember it fondly – my sisters and I packing into the car and driving around to look at holiday lights, hand-grinding nuts and baking Christmas squares with mom, dancing to holiday music in the kitchen, hanging copious amounts of tinsel on the tree, and snuggling up with mom and dad to follow Santa on the news. And, yes, I remember some gifts – like the dollhouse my parents made for us one year and the wooden kitchen set they built for us another. But I don’t really remember the store-bought gifts because it wasn’t the gifts under the tree that made Christmas magical; it was the family traditions and rituals we did in the weeks leading up to Christmas day that I cherished most.
I’m often asked how we approach BIG topics with little children. My answer is: ever so gently. Mindful that it is our responsibility as parents to filter out information that is in Kim John Payne’s words, too much, too fast, too soon, it is imperative that we approach important subjects in a way that is appropriate for the age and maturity of the child. There is a delicate line between sharing enough and sharing too much, which can mean the difference between a child feeling empowered with information or fearful of the world around them. So how do we approach BIG topics with little children? I like to begin with a storybook.