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Family Parenting tips

Fostering Your Kids’ Gift Gratitude – Parenting Tip #37

 

Look at all those gifts!

Your tree has your opened gifts still under it. You pass by and feel grateful for the family and friends who remembered you this Christmas, showing their love with a gift. This attitude of gratitude has grown over the years because of your experiences and matured sense of appreciation and it is a blessing.

But what about your kids’ gift gratitude?

Do they get that warm fuzzy feeling when they play with their new toy from Meemaw or wear that glittery jeans jacket from Auntie Em? How do you foster your kid’s gratitude?

Instilling Gratitude Tips

  • At gift opening, teach them to open the card first. It’s is at that time that you have them thank the giver by looking them in the eye and smiling a “thanks.” I learned this from attending baby showers. When the new mom opened the card, she searched the crowd for the gift giver to make sure they knew she was opening their gift – it’s a way of pre-thanking them and letting them know they are a part of an intimate moment.
  • As they open the gift and get that sparkly look in their eyes that every gift giver looks for, teach them to thank the giver again (those sparkles go a long way!) Gift givers want to know that they have made a difference in people’s lives. One moment of eye contact with a grateful eye will float their boat – and you definitely want their boat to float!
Fostering Kids' Gratitude Parenting Tip #37 {Mom of Many}
This is the face that won my gift giving heart back in 2007.

  • When the gift giver leaves, have your child thank them again and if appropriate, give them a hug. This is the fuel the gift givers need and will strengthen the bond between the two. Every child needs to know that others besides Mom and Dad love them. Mom and Dad are required and expected to love them. Others are the gravy on their potatoes.
  • When the child plays with the toy or wears the gift the first few times, ask them if they remember who gifted it to them. Not only does this create an attitude of gratitude, it also strengthens the bond between your child and the gifter. (Only do this if a bond IS what you want to create!) When ever I go over to my grandkids house and see them playing with a toy that I gave them or wearing something gifted to them from me, I ask them, “What wonderful person gave you that?” They’ve heard it so much that they know enough to say, “You, Grammie!” This is my way of not only getting them to remember that I love them enough to give them things, but to implant in their minds that I am a permanent fixture in their lives (as long as God allows).

Toys and such come and go, but to realize that these things are gifts of love will last a life time.

I tend to attach sentimental value to “things” because they invoke good memories. I constantly fight the “hoarder mentality” because many of my things bring those I love to mind. I want them around me to remind me I have value. Of course, because I belong to God, I have value. But to know someone with skin on values me brings it very close to home.

Parenting Tip for Adoptive Moms {Mom of Many)

To value those around us is the greatest gift.

Parenting Tip for Adoptive Moms {Mom of Many)

Do your kids know they are valuable? We can foster this by teaching some creative gift receiving habits that will last a lifetime. We realize this grateful gift receiving benefits the gift giver, but realize too that it benefits the receiver much more.

The delight on a child’s face is priceless.
Doesn’t it just make you want to experience it over and over and be the reason for the delight?

Fostering Kids' Gratitude Parenting Tip #37 {Mom of Many}This is my grandson, Isaac at age 2. His grateful heart has grown even more these past 8 years.
I love giving him and his siblings gifts! Their delight is my delight.

What do you do to teach gratefulness?

Val @ Mom of Many

Join the Mom of Many mailing list and be invited to our exclusive M.O.M.s Facebook group where we chat every day about mom stuff. If you are in need of support, please join us – it’s a safe place to share your concerns and seek advice. We are looking for mentors for this ministry, so if you are an experienced mom, please come join M.O.M.

Parenting Tips {Mom of Many}

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Family Parenting tips

Do you make your kids share? Parenting Tip #36

Sharing a Different Perspective

If you practice the typical parental sharing rule among your children, you may be creating bitterness, a selfish heart and a self centered mindset.

I know. Parenting can be a scary thing when you consider you might be causing the very behavior you are trying to avoid.

Sharing - Parenting Tip #36 {Mom of Many}A Parenting Mistake

Little Johnny gets a new Lego Bug Obliterater set and he spends hours putting it together. He sits back on his heels and admires his work as his little brother comes from behind and grabs the mega bug and rips off the wings and runs off with his Lego guy.

Johnny hollers, “Moooommmmm! Buster (which is a good name for the little guy since he is Destructo in the flesh) just broke my Lego bug and took my star strider!”

And then how does mom respond? “Johnny, share with your brother!”

What??? Really?

Johnny’s Emotional Response

  1. He now KNOWS his mom won’t protect his things from others. (fear)
  2. His brother becomes the enemy. He decides he must watch for invaders in his personal space. (self protection)
  3. He decides that if mom isn’t his ally, then he must look within and only trust himself. (feelings of abandonment)
  4. Things become more important than the people around him because he begins to fear loss. (materialism)
  5. A little seed of bitterness and resentment begins to grow. (anger)

Sharing - Parenting Tip #36 {Mom of Many}

A Better Parental Response

Johnny hollers, “Moooommmmm! Buster (which is a good name for the little guy since he is Destructo in the flesh) just broke my Lego bug and took my star strider!”

Mom responds: “Buster, you know that belongs to Johnny. You are free to watch him play and maybe he’ll invite you to play with him. But it’s up to him. Johnny, maybe you can build him something to play with?”

Johnny now believes:

  1. His mom respects him and what belongs to him. (security)
  2. Mom considers him to be as important as Buster. (value)
  3. Family can play and work together and be considerate. (courtesy)
  4. Boundaries foster good relationships. (respect)
  5. Buster will learn to play nice or he won’t get what he wants. (cause and effect)
  6. He can share with Buster out of love, not obligation. (love)

“Teach your kids to share,” is not a mandate to make them give up their things. Evaluate each situation and guage your parental response according to what is best.

Do we not protect our possessions? As adults, we hate taxes. We’d much rather give out of a heart of love or concern for others than have things taken from us without our consent. Remember the Boston Tea Party?  Are you against socialism? Do we not lock our doors to protect what is ours?

If your children fear loss, they will put up barriers and self protect. Rather than teaching them to fear, teach them to prefer others and learn to love in practical ways. Lead by example. Let them see you are a giving person. Let giving and sharing be by their choice.

Parenting Tip for Adoptive Moms {Mom of Many)

You don’t teach your kids to GIVE by TAKING AWAY from them.

Parenting Tip for Adoptive Moms {Mom of Many)

Do you make your kids share?

Val @ Mom of Many

Join the Mom of Many mailing list and be invited to our exclusive M.O.M.s Facebook group where we chat every day about mom stuff.

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Family

Merry Christmas from Mom of Many

Merry Christmas {Mom of Many}

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Family Parenting tips

Do your kids believe in Santa? Parenting Tip #33

Do your kids believe in Santa? {Mom of Many}This has been a debate forever.

Some say it’s hurting the cause of Christ to allow Santa into our homes. Others say Santa is a harmless fantasy that makes Christmas fun.

Here is my take on this debate. (Read to the end, please.)

  1. We didn’t teach our kids Santa is real.
  2. When they saw plastic Santa’s in stores, they asked, “Who is that?”
  3. We emphasized the Christmas story of Luke 2 every year.
  4. We had a bunch of adopted kids that we needed to trust us – we didn’t see lying to them even for fun being an option.

Let me explain why we nixed Santa.

Besides the fact that Christmas is a time of celebration of Christ’s birth, I had a negative experience when I was little. That formed my opinion on how I would parent my kids. My brother told me Santa wasn’t real when I was around 6 or 7 and I remember distinctly that moment when I realized I’d been lied to.

Now, don’t get all in a huff, hear me out.

Up to that point everyone had upheld the Santa story and I faithfully filled out my Christmas list every year. It was a fun time. But when my brother spilled the beans I was embarrassed and felt betrayed. I remember I was in my closet playing around on the pole…doing chin-ups.

My brother came in with a friend and told me with a smile on his face. Apparently it gave him pleasure to reveal the secret – little kids…what are we to do with them? That moment is forever burned into my memory – 50 years later I can still picture it.

Yet, I know other families who teach the Christmas story as well AND include Santa in the festivities.

Who is right?

I’m here to tell you that it’s up to each parent how they will handle this issue. If they never had any issues and can keep it a fun little fantasy then what’s it to us? Seriously. Why debate and point fingers? Every family is different and every family must decide for themselves what they will and will not do with their kids.

I honestly don’t think Christ cares AT ALL.

As long as those of us that name the name of Christ give Him the preeminence in our lives and give Him the proper respect and devotion then I don’t think He really cares what silly little fantasies we play around with. If He has His rightful place in our hearts then everything else just pales in comparison.

Really. Do you think God cares one whit about Santa?

Let’s focus on the right things. Forget the debate. Forget about judging other families and just enjoy the season and all it brings to us. There is too much fun stuff out there to waste time considering this issue. Just decide what is best for your family and go with it. If the Lord has a problem with it, He’ll tell you – if you are listening. If you’re not, then how much chance do I have that you’d listen to me?

Christmas time is amazing. Focus on family, the beauty of the decorations, the fun of the gifting and leave the rest to God. I would say focus on the beauty of the “snow” too but we’ve not seen any yet!

I’m pretty sure Christ would prefer we all focus on Him rather than being bothered by the Jolly ol’ Soul.

Tell me what you do in your family – do you do the ho ho ho holidays? Leave me a comment, I’d like to hear what you think.

Join the Mom of Many community and be invited to our exclusive M.O.M.s Facebook group where we chat every day about mom stuff.

Val @ Mom of Many

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Just for Fun Word Art

Have a Holly Jolly Christmas – Free Word Art

Have a Holly Jolly Christmas FREE Word Art {Mom of Many}

I designed a free word art for you: Have a Holly Jolly Christmas. Just click on the picture and I will send you a full resolution 8×10 JPG that you can download and print (I suggest SAMS where you can get it printed for under $2). You can even order it online and have it sent to your house.

Below you can listen to Burl Ives singing it on YouTube!

Do you decorate for Christmas?

I hope you are enjoying this season – ’tis the season to be jolly!

Val @ Mom of Many

Join the Mom of Many community and be invited to our exclusive M.O.M.s Facebook group where we chat every day about mom stuff.

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Family Parenting tips

The Four Gift Giving Rule for Christmas – Parenting Tip #32

Do you shower your kids with gifts at Christmas time?

Four Gift Giving {Mom of Many}The Four Gift Giving Rule for Christmas

My daughter reminded me recently of a good parenting practice at Christmas time to teach gratefulness. We were very fortunate – our kids were always grateful Christmas morning. Every gift got a “thank you” and it seemed they were always content with whatever we gave them. They enjoyed giving gifts and never whined about not getting something. Pretty great, huh?

But we do hear griping and whining all around us during this time of year, don’t we? If you are concerned with attitudes this year or want to implement something new to ward off the gimmie-gots, take a look at this:

Give your kids four gifts:

  1. One gift they want.
  2. One gift they need.
  3. One gift they wear.
  4. One gift they read.

When it comes to those who we love and are precious to us, we want to give them the world. We like to see them light up with happiness and we enjoy being a blessing to them. BUT, we need to be careful not to overindulge our kids – the key is “balance.”

I think we have a good balance in our family. How about you. Are you seeking balance this year?

Val @ Mom of Many

Join the Mom of Many community and be invited to our exclusive M.O.M.s Facebook group where we chat every day about mom stuff.

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Family Parenting tips

Christmas Traditions – Parenting Tip #25

Christmas Traditions {Mom of Many}

Some of my best memories of growing up are of our family Christmases.

Upon waking I ran to the top of our basement steps and could see the glow of our tree. I knew I would be the last one to go down because I was the youngest – the anticipation was overwhelming!

Parenting Tip for Adoptive Moms {Mom of Many)

For my family we had many traditions that we stuck to every year – even when they were grown up.

  • The kids would decorate the tree – I’d hand them one bulb at a time so they could hang it. We played Christmas music. After they went to bed I would always straighten the bulbs (don’t tell them!). Putting on tinsel was the fun part.
  • Christmas Eve we had the kids open one gift while we sat around the Christmas tree.
  • My DH and I would get up first and I’d get ready for the day and get some coffee. We would exchange before the kids got up.
  • When ready, I turned on Christmas music. That was the kids’ cue to come sit around the Christmas tree.
  • We would go get G’ma and she would join us with her coffee and gifts.
  • We didn’t eat breakfast right away – we would open a few gifts, one at a time. No ripping into the gifts – I wanted to see each one opened!
  • Some time during the gifting we read the Christmas story in Luke 2.
  • In an hour or so we’d break and go eat breakfast. We would have a huge bowl filled with fruit and snacks that they could grab all through the day.
  • After b’fast, we’d go back to the gifts. We took hours opening since we had so many kids. But that OK. It was fun to see each face with each gift opening.
  • We didn’t have a formal dinner because we wanted the day to be a “no work” day. The kids would enjoy their gifts throughout the day as they had free reign on the snacks.
  • Later in the day the kids “opened” their stockings.

Parenting Tip for Adoptive Moms {Mom of Many)

Christmas Traditions {Mom of Many}The whole day was devoted to family. It was the one day of the year that was relaxing with few hiccups (stressful moments). I have thousands of pictures of those days. The past few years I’ve made a Christmas photo book. It truly is the best time of the year – but you have to do some prep work to make it so.

If you haven’t yet, begin your own family traditions.

It is very worth it to give your kids great memories of their growing up years.

What are your family traditions?

Do you let your kids rip into the gifts or do you open the one at a time? Let me know in the comments.

Val @ Mom of Many

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Christmas gift image courtesy of Master isolated images at FreeDigitalPhotos.net