Thursday, November 15, 2018

On Everyday Thankfulness and Kindness

On any given day I observe our young students carry in a can of soup, or a box of cereal and place in our donation basket for our local food pantry.  They are truly receiving great role modeling from their parents who support this neighborhood need.  The children know they are helping some other children in families that do not have enough food.  We support this great outreach every week throughout the school year.  At this time of Thanksgiving when families gather in celebration and thanks, many people make a greater effort to support food pantries, clothing drives, soup kitchens, various charities and people in need.  Our children are never too young to learn about being thankful and sharing kindnesses.  The season of Thanksgiving provides a wonderful opportunity to develop a lifelong habit of being thankful for what one has, as well as sharing time, showing kindness, and giving from the heart.
With that in mind here are some ways to help raise grateful, kind children by Homa Tavanger author of “Growing up Global: Raising Children to Be at Home in the world.”

1.     Say "Thank you." When "thank yous" are instilled in our vocabulary at home, a lifelong practice begins, even if it doesn't stick at first. You can gently restate a sentence with polite language inserted or suggest saying "Thank you" together.
2.     Teach through role play. If your little one is too shy to say "thank you" in a social setting, they can pretend to teach their stuffed animals or dolls to do so, while you play along.
3.     Live it. Set an example and show appreciation by conveying you paid attention to real effort: "Your room looks so nice with the toys in their bins. I'm so happy that you remembered to put them away!"
4.     Create daily or weekly routines. A regular question, "What are you most thankful for today?" can serve as a comforting routine at bedtime or a highlight of a weekly dinner ritual.
5.     Make giving and volunteering a habit. Set aside toys and clothing in good condition. Deliver the items to a deserving cause together. Talk about the process and why you care. Tap into organizations like Global Giving that offer a virtual marketplace for making a difference.
6.     Create gratitude gift lists. Alongside a holiday or birthday gift wish list, for every item, family members can list something they are grateful for. These are the "priceless" gifts. By generating the list in a beautiful way, you demonstrate how valuable the alternate list is; it can be a keepsake for years to come.
7.     Be patient. Kids can't be cajoled into showing appreciation, but your gentle efforts and examples will instill gratitude as a way of life.

Research by the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley shows that "people who practice gratitude feel considerably happier (25%) than those in a control group; they are more joyful, enthusiastic, interested, and determined."

Here’s to a happy long-lasting season of thankfulness, kindness and giving for all!
Colette B. Cross

Monday, November 5, 2018

50 Questions to Ask Your Kids Instead of Asking “How Was Your Day”
Leslie Means

1.      Can you tell me an example of kindness you saw/showed? 
2.      Was there an example of unkindness? How did you respond?
3.      Does everyone have a friend at recess?
4.      What was the book about that your teacher read?
5.      What’s the word of the week?
6.      Did anyone do anything silly to make you laugh?
7.      Did anyone cry?
8.      What did you do that was creative?
9.      What is the most popular game at recess?
10. What was the best thing that happened today?
11. Did you help anyone today?
12. Did you tell anyone “thank you?”
13. Who did you sit with at lunch?
14. What made you laugh?
15. Did you learn something you didn’t understand?
16. Who inspired you today?
17. What was the peak and the pit?
19. Was anyone in your class gone today?
20. Did you ever feel unsafe?
21. What is something you heard that surprised you?
22. What is something you saw that made you think?
23. Who did you play with today?
24. Tell me something you know today that you didn’t know yesterday.
25. What is something that challenged you?
26. How did someone fill your bucket today? Whose bucket did you fill?
27. Did you like your lunch?
28. Rate your day on a scale from 1-10.
29. Did anyone get in trouble today?
30. How were you brave today?
31. What questions did you ask at school today?
32. Tell us your top two things from the day (before you can be excused from the dinner table!). 
33. What are you looking forward to tomorrow?
34. What are you reading?
35. What was the hardest rule to follow today?
36. Teach me something I don’t know.
37. If you could change one thing about your day, what would it be?
38. (For older kids):  Do you feel prepared for your history test?” or, “Is there anything on your mind that you’d like to talk about?” (In my opinion, the key is not only the way a question is phrased, but responding in a supportive way.)
39. Who did you share your snacks with at lunch?
40. What made your teacher smile? What made her frown?
41. What kind of person were you today?
42. What made you feel happy? 
43. What made you feel proud?
44. What made you feel loved?
45. Did you learn any new words today?
46. What do you hope to do before school is out for the year?
47. If you could switch seats with anyone in class, who would it be? And why?
48. What is your least favorite part of the school building? And favorite?
49. If you switched places with your teacher tomorrow, what would you teach the class?