Learning From Infants And Young Children

It’s Christmas again. We’re still struggling with Covid, and this year, also with RSV and the flu. But one thing still remains true: Simple is best!

As I opened a Christmas card with a picture of a 1-year-old infant exploring a Christmas box, it hit me how infants and young children really understand the true meaning of Christmas. Not just spiritually but physically. Because they haven’t yet been conditioned to expect the gift inside the shiny, crinkly paper, they will actually get more joy from just ripping the paper. They will examine every bit of the material.

We’re all excited for them to see what is in the package. Sadly, we rush them to get to the actual toy, but they are satisfied with the paper and the box.

So let them take their time with opening the box and exploring it and the paper. They are hearing all the different sounds of the paper and box. They are smelling all the different scents of the packaging. They are feeling the texture of the packaging. They are seeing the colors of the packaging—and even tasting them.

We’d be wise to observe this process and incorporate it into our own lives. Take time to truly explore and appreciate the small things. Love without conditions. Look out for each other.

Christmas is about love. We definitely need a whole lot more love in our world!

Happy Holidays!

5 Ways To Instill Kindness In Children

The night I wrote the following post was World Kindness Day. There’s so much hate going on in the world that we must commit to instilling kindness in our children for a better future. I am truly afraid of what the world will become if kindness and compassion don’t prevail.

1) Be kind yourself.

Children are constantly watching us from the moment they are born even when we don’t think they are. Let them see you open the door for people, smiling at all kinds of people, giving to people in need. Also, be kind to your children and apologize when you are unkind. We are all human beings that make mistakes.

2) Affirm acts of kindness.

When the baby hands you something, smile at him/her and thank the baby. Tell the baby how kind he/she is. Point out when your child does something kind without being asked such as, cleaning up, helping a sibling, or helping friends. Tell children how their kindness affects people even if it’s something small. For example, “Your sister looked so happy when you gave her your toy to play with.” The more you affirm kindness, the more children will continue to be kind.

3) Regularly participate in events that help people and animals.

Take your children shopping for other children. Donate to different causes. Go help at your local animal shelters. By participating in different events and fundraisers, you allow children to give back to others that need help. This also teaches gratitude for what they have.

4) Teach children about people who are different.

This is so critical for instilling kindness in children. Teach and expose them to all different races and ethnicities, LBGTQ+, people with disabilities. We must understand that all people are equal and they deserve kindness. The more children are taught to accept and embrace different people, the more likely that they will help these people and stick up for them instead of bullying and oppressing them.

5) Teach mindfulness to help them regulate their emotions.

Children, especially young children, have a hard time regulating their emotions, so it’s up to us to help them learn how to regulate them. We do this by naming the emotions that they are experiencing. For example, “You’re really angry. Let me help you. Here’s a pillow to kick.” Also, help the child to take some big breaths in and out. Doing a calming visual can also help calm the children down so you can teach them how to do better once they are calm and able to really hear you.

Children deserve kindness no matter what. This world is getting worse and worse because the media, especially social media, are fueling hate. I highly recommend limiting your time on social media. We can fight back by being kind and teaching kindness every day.