I truly believe toddlers are smarter than we sometimes give them credit for. “He’s not really going to get it anyway.” It’s remarkable how many times I’ve heard that when discussing involving our children in certain holidays, celebrations, or significant days throughout the year. I don’t buy it. We never underestimate how much Wyatt has the potential to understand about any situation. We’ve always parented that way; assuming he’ll understand what’s going on, not assuming he won’t. Maybe he does and maybe, sometimes, he doesn’t – but why on earth would we not at least make an effort?
So, yesterday, we used Pink Shirt Day as an opportunity to talk with Wyatt about being kind to people. Of course we wore pink, but we also discussed how our actions can affect how other people feel, and how we always want to make those around us feel good. In the years to come, we’ll delve deeper into the history of the day, what it means, why it was started, and how we can make an impact. But for now, this is the level at which he can be involved.
Holidays and significant days throughout the year are perfect teachable moments. It doesn’t have to be a huge undertaking (it can be if you want and have the time!). Sometimes a simple conversation is all you need. Here are a few other ideas on how to have impactful times with your little one on significant days:
Valentine’s Day: Gift flowers to strangers. This year, we picked up a bucket of roses from Heather de Kok Floral Design, went to the Edmonton International Airport, and handed them out to complete strangers at the arrivals gate. It was incredible to see a physical shift in people once they realized the flowers were actually for them! Through the experience, Wyatt and I talked about spreading love and joy.
Pride: Make a sensory bin using colours of rice from the Pride flag (something we’re planning to do this year!). Make it a family date at the Pride Parade. At this point, you’re just familiarizing them with the celebration. As they get older, you can discuss the reasons and history behind the occasion.
Canada Day: In the days leading up, sing the National Anthem as your bedtime song. Show them Canada on the map of the world, and discuss where you live. Do a few Canada Day crafts (here are some good ideas) and involve them in prepping for your Canada Day party. Go for a walk and have them count how many Canada flags they see!
Thanksgiving: Deliver meals to others before you eat yours. Volunteer with an organization in your city that delivers meals to people in need. It’s a lesson in being grateful and helping others who are less fortunate.
Giving Tuesday: Pick a charity and take your kid(s) to make the donation. Maybe the money can even come out of their little piggy bank! You could even organize a tour of the organization’s headquarters.
Christmas: Drop off gift to less fortunate kids and talk about the importance of giving and not just receiving. Discuss the simple act of being grateful for what you have and taking time to make others happy.
Moral of the story: it’s never too early to start teaching your kid about being a nice human being. Look for teachable moments on these notable days. What’s amazing is the added bonus – you’re getting the reminder too!
What are some ways you like to involve your little ones in big days?
Other reads you may be interested in:
Toddler Misbehaving: How to Deal
Jacqueline Jacek says
Love this Kari! Thank you for this wonderful reminder and great ideas 💙