Monday, February 9, 2015

It's Such a Good Feeling

I have a small crush on the PBS kids' show Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood.  I've been particularly fond of it ever since it dawned on me that it was a spin-off of Mr. Roger's Neighborhood.  What a clever idea to take the imaginary land the trolley traveled to and turn it into its own show!

But anyways, one of the things I like about Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood is that it takes basic things I want my kids to learn (like what to do when they are frustrated or need help) and makes them into a little jingle-- one that you will likely find yourself repeating for the rest of the day, but that can also come in very handy.  The other thing I love about the show is that it models positive ways for me to communicate and talk with my kids as well.

I'm a far cry from Mrs. Tiger, who never gets impatient or raises her voice, but that's because I'm a real person and she is animated.  Basically, the adults on the show model everything you might read in a book like How to Talk So Kids Will Listen, and Listen So Kids Will Talk.  I think it's great that when I sit down to watch an episode with my kids, I can learn something right along with them.  After all, I want to keep learning and growing as a parent the way I hope my kids keep learning and growing.

One of the ideas from the show that I was inspired to make our own is Neighbor Day.  In that episode, Daniel learns how good it feels to be neighborly and that one kind act can lead to many.  This is definitely something I want Esme and Reid to learn/know, so I've adapted the idea into Neighborly Sundays for our family.

In December, this led to Esme and I baking cookies and then hand-delivering them to our neighbors.  It was a cold and icy day, but that didn't stop Esme from wanting to go out and about and knock on our neighbor's doors.  She is a little shy when meeting people she doesn't know, so she would often want me to be the one to say "Merry Christmas" and talk to the neighbors who answered their door, but it was still really fun to do this activity together.

Now that things have settled down a bit after the holidays, I've been brainstorming other ideas of simple yet fun things we can do to show a little kindness to our neighbors.  Some of the ideas I've found of things we could make or do for our neighbors include...
  • Bird feeders made out of pipe cleaners and cheerios (or Fruit Loops)
  • Mini loaves of homemade bread
  • Little bags of Hershey Hugs- "Hugs from your neighbor!"
  • Fortune cookies- "We are fortunate to have you as our neighbor!"
I've found that doing little things like this is not helps our kids learn how good it feels to do something (unexpectedly) kind, but putting them together is also a great way of spending time with Esme while Reid naps.  Having something constructive (and fun) for us to do during that time helps it go by much more smoothly.

And of course, doing little things like this isn't just reserved for neighbors-- I remember reading somewhere that each new year, a family chooses a specific person to "love on" during each month.  Doing something like this for that person would be great, or even for your family members and friends.  I've said it once but I'll say it again, all too often kindness is in too short of supply.  So anything we as a family (or you) can do to spread some will likely go a long way.

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