With the summer approaching- the weather is getting nicer and I have been planning a lot of fun filled learning activities for Abby. Abby will be entering Kindergarten in the Fall and as parents it is our job to make sure she is prepared.
Saturday we surprised Abby and took her to her first planetarium show, Sesame Street “One World, One Sky”.
Abby did not know what to expect and was amazed once we took our seats under the dome, as we waited for the show. She enjoyed learning about the starts and planets. Her bedtime story Saturday night was a book about stargazing and the different galaxies [Stars! Stars! Stars! by Nancy Elizabeth Wallace], which she had picked out the weekend prior at our library visit. Lately, she has been very interested in the solar system and airplanes. It’s pretty safe to assume that she gets those interests from her Daddy.
Honestly, Andrew and I were pretty excited about visiting the planetarium ourselves. We both enjoyed field trips in elementary school to Owens Science Center.
A weekend ritual for us has also been our weekly visits to the library. Sunday we took Abby to the library to return her books from the week prior and allowed her to pick out some new books. Grandma joined us on this visit and helped us pick out some beginners reading books with sight words. Abby has grown to love the library and enjoys meeting new friends.
Last night for bedtime Abby picked out the book, Stop, Train, Stop! by Rev. W. Awdry. She learned several new words to add to her vocabulary and was able to spell those words out-loud with a closed book. The benefits of reading aloud stories each night to your babies and toddlers are significant as it helps build their vocabulary, comprehension, and grammar. I can definitely see an improvement in Abby’s vocabulary and she is so eager for story time at night before bed which makes bedtime more pleasant.
While browsing at the library on Sunday I passed by the book, How to Raise Kind Kids by Thomas Lickona. It caught my attention and after reading an excerpt I had to check it out for myself.
I am always reading for information and I find enjoyment in self development and parenting books. There are so many theories when it comes to how to parent and how to be a better parent. This book discusses how to teach manners to your children. Just in the first few chapters of this book I learned that the teaching of character development and education was a major area in American school systems many years ago. With time and culture changes we have weaned away from that. Politics is blamed for the change and it’s often harder to find schools that emphasize the education of character development. There is an estranged disconnect between whether character development should be taught at home or in schools. I personally believe that it should definitely start at home and should not fall on the responsibility of teachers.
Andrew and I observed at the playground this past weekend a young girl being a bully to multiple kids. We had no clue of who her parents were and felt really bad to see this happen but it is a reality that our children will face at the playground and even at school. This event struck a nerve with me and made me self reflect on how we are doing as parents to instill kindness in our children. This all ties into prepping Abby for school and teaching her the importance of acts of kindness and how to respond in situations where someone is not being so kind.
While at the playground Abby handled the bully well and ignored her. I want her to be able to recognize situations like this and build her character by responding positively. As parents we have limited control of the situations that our children face when interacting with other children. However, what we do have control over is what we are teaching our children about having good character and the importance of kindness.
Bullying is a serious issue and is plaguing not only schools but social media. It is important to work with your children and discourage and correct this type of negative behavior if you are observing it. If we all take the responsibility of doing this we can gain better control over bullying.
If you have a child that is struggling with poor character or lack of kindness this would be a great book to checkout from your local library. I would even recommend it to every parent whether there is a problem or not. The book just provides overall good and useful information on the effects of culture, how to cultivate kindness and gratitude in your children. These concepts are extremely important in the development of your children as they transition into the many phases of life.
“The bottom line: whether we reverse the destructive trends that are bringing out the worst in many Americans, and make progress towards a kinder, more respectful society, depends on each and every one of us– and starts at home” (Lickona, 2018, p. 22)
“Responsibility– in the literal sense of ‘response-ability’– has everything to do with kindness. To the degree that kids practice kindness, they’ll think of others, not just of themselves. They’ll make an effort to be helpful and considerate of others’ needs and feelings” (Lickona, 2018, p. 22)
Favorite quotes from the book:
“Three things in human life are important. The first is to be kind. The second is to be kind. And the third is to be kind.” -Henry James
“No act of kindness, however small, is ever wasted.” – Aesop
“We are called to do small things with great love.” -Mother Teresa
“If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.” -Dalai Lama
Share your comments and thoughts below!
Lickona, T. (2018). How to raise kind kids: And get respect, gratitude, and a happier family in the bargain. New York: Penguin Books.