The holidays are here and, as a parent, I am always looking for ways to make the holidays about more than just presents. My family tries to focus on character development throughout the year, however this time of the year seems to be the most difficult to keep my family focused on becoming our best selves. Check out these ideas to help make the holidays more meaningful and to help you teach values during December.
Figure Out Your Family Values
Each family is different, and the holidays are no exception. Take a moment each holiday season to sit down and discuss your family values. These values will change as your family changes, so the yearly review helps keep everyone on track. An added bonus is that it will be fresh in your family's mind as you hit this tough time of year, allowing you to quickly reference your values throughout the month.
If you have never sat down and thought about your family values, don't worry! Simply start by asking yourself a simple question, "What do you and your family stand for?" After this question is answered, keep going. Ask yourself, "What makes your family special?" and "How do you show what makes you special?" Consider writing down these ideas and having them on display throughout the year. Having everyone on the same page will allow your family members to help each other focus on what is important.
Use Your Values for Good
Your family values should be a starting point to help your family figure out how you can give back throughout the year. If your family loves spending time together, consider finding a local charity that you can all volunteer at together. If your family likes animals, consider a drive for items to the local animal shelter. Using your values to be the reason behind good allows your children to see how it is important to act with a purpose and give back during this time of year. Use these values to give your child real world experiences and help them see how these experiences can be used to do good.
Surround Yourselves with Examples
Try to encourage your children to look around the community and find others who are excellent examples of your values and character traits you are trying to achieve. Take a moment to acknowledge these people and give back to them, if possible. For example, if your child has a teacher they said is kind, have your child make a card for the teacher and give it to them. If your child identifies a grandparent as being someone who loves animals, let them make something for their pet. By allowing your children to identify people with these values, you are helping them learn the values themselves and teaching them to reward people with these values.
This time of year can be stressful and difficult, but it doesn't have to be. By taking the time to develop your family values during the holiday season will allow all of you to stay grounded and focused on what is important. Help spread kindness throughout your family and community this time of year!