Are you looking for a special gift for someone you love? “Cloud of Love” is something I did with my kids for birthday gifts in our family. I thought you might like the idea for the holidays. For those of you who might not know, Clouds are groups of words showing categories viewed on blogs, websites, and other social media. This “Cloud” though, is created of reasons why you love your special someone.
The title of the “Cloud” can include the person’s age. For example, 60 Reasons We Love Mimi. I chose to use the person’s age to determine how many reasons are used. You can choose to do the same or another number that is meaningful to you. List reasons using different sizes, colors, even fonts, if you are computer savvy or simply use paper with crayons, markers, or pens.
Once you have created your cloud, it could be framed or placed in the front of a photo album (They still make these, right?). You could also include pictures of the person with you or your children. I have given a partial example below. (There are not 60 reasons in the example. It gives you the idea, though.) I also included it as a document link. I think you could use it as a template, please let me know if you try it. 🙂
Just like adults, children sometimes have stress, anxieties, or get overly excited during the holiday season. Here are a few strategies to help yourself and your child enjoy the holidays and each other:
Be sure to do a self-check. If you are getting nervous, stressed or frustrated trying to “do it all”. It will surely trickle down to your children. Don’t be shy to ask for help! It’s okay to ask for help because it will strengthen your relationships.
Make sure you don’t get overwhelmed by keeping what is truly important in mind, your beliefs in the holiday your family celebrates, your family, and helping or appreciating others as well. It’s a great time of year to show appreciation to others who help your family in some way. Also, it is a time to help other families who may need it during the holidays.
Make lists and keep a journal. Making lists of items you need to buy or things you need to get accomplished. Be sure to write down a day you would like these tasks to be done. I also started to keep a journal of holiday giving to help me remember from year to year what we have given.
It’s also a good time of year to give to charities, food pantries, and shelters. Schools and stores usually have toy or gift drives. Wal-Mart, for example, has a giving tree with gift requests on it. You can select a tag off the tree, buy the request, and then give it to the customer service staff member. This is a good thing to do with your children so that they understand the importance of giving, even to other families they may not know.
A side note regarding donations. There are organizations in your area that need families to make donations which help your own community. One way to make donating easier is by making a payment monthly for one year. Small monthly donations can be given automatically through your bank to the recipient. This commitment is actually better for the recipient.
Strategies For Kids:
Give kids age appropriate “jobs” to help with holiday preparations. One idea is wrapping gifts. Cut paper to size of gift. Give your child sized paper, pieces of tape (or if old enough, the tape dispenser), bows, and a bag to place when finished. Here is the big tip for you: Love however they wrap the gift! Sometimes we have to “let go” of how we might do something because it’s all good. 🙂 The recipient will enjoy your child’s wrapping abilities no matter what. Other jobs may include: help with cleaning (socks on hands to dust is always fun), decorating, cooking, and making gifts.
Deep breaths (in through the nose, out through the mouth) and exercise daily. Kids need to be taught how to take a deep breath. Elementary teachers sometimes explain to their students, it is like smelling flowers and blowing out birthday candles. Be sure to tell them to only do one deep breath, but remind them a few times during the day. If you practice this daily, your children will be able to use it more effectively when they really need it to calm themselves. Exercise is very important for your children to keep calm as well. An easy indoor activity is Freeze Dancing. Turn on your favorite tunes, but when the music goes off, you freeze! The kids really like this and they get some exercise.
Read and discuss holiday traditions along with their usual favorite books. (Bedtime is a great time for this. Kids are very open to conversations at this time. Especially if they get to stay up a little late. 😉 )
Emphasize Giving Make or buy gifts together for others. Include them in buying for the toy or gift drive you donate to. It will get your child thinking about how others need our support.
Teach expected behaviors for giving and receiving. For example, when receiving a gift always say “thank you” and something kind about the gift. When giving a gift watch the person open it and respond to a thank you with “you’re welcome”. This not only gives them the words to use, it provides the opportunity to learn about gratitude.
If you are visiting another home for a holiday party be sure to tell your kids beforehand the usual sequence of events and what is expected of them during the party. Remind them that expected behavior is important for everyone to have fun and stay safe. If you have a child who has difficulty in these less structured events, be certain to respect any concerns they have and help them to feel comfortable. It’s okay to request information from the host or bring something with you to help your child feel more comfortable. Don’t put your feelings or anxieties on them, however. Don’t ask or suggest anything negative, simply listen if they bring up a concern and reassure them that you will help them if needed.
Older kids need support, too. They would benefit by your sharing the above strategies with them (in your own words) and ask them what they might like to try this year. It may just be the conversation starter you are looking for. (Don’t forget…bedtime is a great time to ask and listen.)
Hopefully, you are also working on your happiness with visualizing, family cheers, exercise, getting rest, being thankful, being mindful, meditating, self-compassion, and thinking positive thoughts. Holidays are a wonderful opportunity to create amazing memories for your family and others. I hope this helps you and your children enjoy this special time of year. Please share some of your own strategies that have helped your holidays be happy in the comment section. I look forward to learning from you!
More to come……
Blogging has led to tweeting on Twitter and following tweets! If you haven’t tried this yet, please do! Even if you are a bit shy, it is such a wonderful way to connect with like-minded people. Happy, positive, fun people!
First of all, you can “tweet” about what is important to you or simply about things that make you…..(you know what I am going to say, right?) happy! Others can “like” your tweets and follow YOU. Another fun feature is when you find something you like, you can “retweet” it! Maybe your friend’s tweet, or something you want your friends to learn about, or just something that made you laugh and you want to share it. 😀
Secondly, you can find people or groups on twitter that you are interested in and follow their tweets. They don’t have to be your friend. If you really like one of their tweets, you can click on their link to learn more!
Lastly, even when you’re not actively finding others, they can find you! I have made connections with some wonderful people and groups. Some of which I searched for and some I connected with when they found me.
You never know, you might have fun if you give it a try. Please, though, look at my Twitter Feed conveniently located in my sidebar under Blog Hits. You do not need to be registered with Twitter to read my feed. I will be bringing tweets to your attention, but anytime you see a tweet that is interesting, you can easily click on its link! “My Happy” posts will appear as tweets, but other tweets will be information that is similar or supports “My Happy” content.
I was prompted to share my feed on “My Happy” when I found some great links. If you like what I have been blogging about, I know you will really like them.
Please take a look at the December 4th retweet The Power & Science of Social Connection: Emma Seppälä TEDx . It is about compassion, kindness, and of course, happiness! Emma Seppälä brings our attention to current research regarding compassion and why it is important for us to have it for others and ourselves. Hoping this video reminds you to be kind to yourself and others.
Thanks for reading!
Thanks for watching my video post about:
Did you know libraries have many fun activities for children, whether it is a story time, a puppet show, or a visit from the “Whale Mobile”? Don’t be shy! Check out your town and surrounding town library websites to learn more. It is a great place to meet new friends and of course, find great books!
Have a happy day!