The Meaning of Enough: Part 2

In the last post we touched on the blessing of teaching your child the meaning of enough. The second part in this series is designed to give you practical tools for the everyday implementation of this most critical life lesson. Together we will explore three specific scenarios that you can use as teachable moments regarding the meaning of enough. In honor of my daughter turning 6 tomorrow, we start with birthdays…

 

Scenario #1: Birthdays

I know that this is a BIG one for a lot of you. It is so easy to get caught up in celebrating your child’s birth that you end up overextending yourself (and your finances) to the point of exhaustion. The sad part about it is, your child will not remember his 2nd birthday party no matter how fantastic it is. Birthdays are an opportunity to teach your child about the balance between giving and receiving.

Consider encouraging party guests to bring a book, toy, or clothing item to donate to a local shelter and have gifts for the child come from immediate family only. This really allows you to exercise some control regarding the quality and quantity of toys coming into your home. Talk to your child before the party about children that don’t have toys and clothes and how she can help them out. Be sure to bring your child with you at donation time as well so that she can see the act of giving occur.

Another major source of spoiling and stress has to do with the actual party itself. If your child had a meltdown at her last party, that is a strong indication that the party was too much. Choose one special activity for the party such as a craft project, a magician, or a jumping castle. All three is more than a child under the age of six can really handle. Teach your child how to choose special people to invite, it really isn’t necessary to invite the whole class and everybody in the neighborhood. The lesson of what is “enough” relates to how we socialize as well. A birthday is a time to celebrate one special person by surrounding him with the people who are truly special to him. Allow it to be intimate and calm so that both you and your child associate his birthday with positive emotions.

 

Scenario #2: Holidays

We all know that this time of year can bring out both the best and the worst in people. It is up to you to model the “best” part for your child. Holidays abound with opportunities to teach your child how to set limits for herself and be kind to others. Set a maximum gift limit for your family such as three gifts per person. Although setting a limit like this may seem difficult, it is truly a gift to your child. It is an opportunity to get them a few special things that they can explore and appreciate. It is very hard for a child who has a mountain of gifts and gets everything she asks for to have a true sense of gratitude, respect, and appreciation for the belongings that she has.

If you celebrate holidays, fill them with special activities that are more about being together and less about having more things. One of the easiest and most enjoyable ways to incorporate this into your holidays is to make handmade gifts for everybody on your list with your child. Montessori children are quite practiced in baking, gluing, sewing, and other activities. These are the gifts that aunts, uncles, and grandparents treasure most.

 

Scenario #3: Meals

Mealtimes are one of the most important times in a Montessori classroom. This is an opportunity to strengthen bonds, enrich language, learn about healthy eating habits, and practice grace and courtesy. The first step towards teaching your child the meaning of enough when it comes to food is sitting together at the table with appropriately sized portions on everyone’s plates. Research has shown that there are strong connections between children that snack all day and eat in front of the TV and Type Two Diabetes and childhood obesity. It is hard to set limits for yourself when your mind is focused on something outside of your meal.

Take a moment to also consider the quality and quantity of food you send in your child’s lunch. Give them sensible portions of nutritious food. No three-year-old needs a sandwich, and yogurt, and applesauce, and string cheese, and cookies, and a juice box. This is overwhelming for a child and it teaches them to consume unhealthy amounts of food. Remember, our classrooms serve milk and a fruit or vegetable at every lunch time. Give your child the opportunity to spend lunch time focused on eating her nutritious food instead of unpacking seven items, feeling overwhelmed by all of the choices, and then not having time to eat all of it.

 

Your child deserves to have the opportunity to have a life that is full of non-material blessings that are not overcome by unnecessary “stuff”. Take your chance this season to give them something more than toys. Give them the gifts of independence through self-control and self-love through quality family time!

 

“The things the child sees are not just remembered, they form a part of his soul.”

–Dr. Maria Montessori

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~ by vegucationmama on November 21, 2012.

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