Posted By Aimee Wilson - Occasions To Savor

I've been writing about our adventures in teaching family values using Once Upon A Family's Lessons for Little Ones series.  It is a tri-fold packet with 3 suggested activities and that typically involve establishing a family tradition around a family value, like love, for example.  Then, there is a baking activity to reinforce the family value.  Also, there is a progressive project to use throughout the month for the child(ren) to earn something or see a finished project.  An opportunity to preserve the family involvement is a paper picture frame for the photograph of the family engaging in the activities. 

 

I last wrote about April and May, which were Sharing/Serving and Joyful Attitude, respectively.  I incorrectly quote the June family value as Courage.  June is Responsibility and July is Courage.  We are working on responsibilties around the house and helping my son take more interest in caring for himself.  He wants to turn 4 so bad and I emphasize what big boys do, especially those who are 4.  That piques his interest every time.

 

Unlike other activities, I would usually keep records of how many times he did the desire activity or showed the desired family value.  This month is little more challenging.  My son is showing some regression signs - he wants everything done for him, including carrying his backpack with his toys or books, feeding him his vegetables (as if vegetables take more effort than his meat), and other similar requests.  I can say he is taking great pride in helping to make his bed and dressing himself without any physical assistance (just verbal prompts to put his shoes on the correct foot, every now and then).  So, there are definite bright spots.

 

Since I erroneously thought June was Courage, I purchased a supplemental book.  Over the last few months, I have learned that 3 year olds have peer pressure also and I was really looking forward to focusing on courage and not always following the crowd.  I will share more on that next month.

 

Savor life's best,

Aimee

 

Postscript:  Since writing this post, which was written a couple of weeks ago, Once Upon A Family, the direct selling company offering the Lessons for Little Ones product line, has closed effective June 30, 2009.  While I placed my last order before they closed yesterday, I am saddened to hear about their closing yet blessed to have enriched my family life with intentional focus and efforts on sharing family values and family traditions.

 

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Posted By Aimee Wilson - Occasions To Savor

Our Once Upon A Family's Lessons for Little Ones experiences for April and May have taken a funny twist.  I am not a baker by heart and every month there is a baking activity.  I have been able to hold my son off in April and May.  So, the focus for teaching family values did not end with a baking activity.  I promised to resume that in June when we discuss "Courage".

 

For April, we talked about "Sharing and Serving" and what that means for my 3 year old.  We did not just talk about it.  We created a magical Lollipop Garden using jelly beans he earned during the month when he served or shared with someone.  Naturally, I could not know when he did that at preschool.  There were moments that were truly touching, like when he wanted to give a gift to his Aunt, my sister, and his Grammy, my mother.  He picked out stickers for them - sea-themed and flowers.  Neither have occasions to use stickers.  He wanted them to have something special from one of our Target shopping trips.  

 

Needless to say, he earned lots of magic jelly beans for his magical Lollipop Garden.  We "planted" our garden for the Mother's Day weekend.  Using decorative grass in a shoe box, we laid the jelly beans on top, which he helped prepare.  The next day, the magic jelly beans appeared to get "rooted" as I sunk them down in the decorative grass.  On Mother's Day, he gave me the greatest gift - hearing his excitement when he saw all the lollipops from his magical Lollipop Garden.  

 

This month is "Joyful Attitude", a little harder to notice, particularly for a child who tends to stay positive and joyful as a part of his personality.  There have been a number of instances so far where he brought joy to one of the family members.  Joy seems to come more naturally for him so this month is more low-key.

 

To read about our other monthly family values experiences, check out these posts:

 

- Hard Work in January

- Loving-Kindness in February

- Unique Gifts in March

 

Savor life's best,

Aimee

 

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Posted By Aimee Wilson - Occasions To Savor

March was swept away with recovery from the umpteenth cold, a very busy Spring Break, and the aftermath of those hectic life circumstances.  However, I found some moments to spend with my 3 year old son as we worked on the March Lessons for Little Ones offered by Once Upon A Family.  March's value was Unique Gifts.  Again, I modified the activity because my son showed little interest in the ones outlined in the booklet.  Celebrating Unique Gifts was simple enough - we baked, which my son loves to do and we talked, another favorite pasttime for him!

 

We are not Irish but St. Patrick's Day is a favorite day for me.  I like all the green you see everyone wear.  It's like a show of solidarity.  And it was an easy way to participate in a holiday on a basic level.  We were enjoying Spring Break with a trip to the Crayola Factory in Easton, PA.  I dressed us in green and my son never noticed.  However, my son absolutely loves baking and could not wait to present our green cake.  He insisted that he wore my chef's hat from DOVE Chocolate Discoveries.  He was so mesmerized when I put the green dye in the frosting.  Putting my icing-the-cake challenges aside, I'd do it all over again to see the wide eyes of excitement from my son.  The time we spent was priceless!

 

The second activity we did was discuss his unique gifts.  Basically, when the noise of the day was gone and the focus was on mommy-and-son time, we talked about what made him unique and special.  It took very little prompting, which surprised me.  I was glad to hear he had such positive thoughts about himself.  I plan to frame this list for him to see everyday and reflect over time.  It will be an excellent reminder when life throws him a curve.

 

It's April and I'm looking forward to the next Lessons for Little Ones on Sharing and Serving.  My son is a giver and he has already thought about his Grammy and Auntie during today's shopping trip to our favorite store, Target.  We were buying a few basic items but he wanted them to have a gift, perhaps a toy.  After convincing him a toy may not be the best thing to give them, he selected nice stickers for each of them and was so excited to make his presentation.  Although he did not have money with him, he told me I could take the money for the gifts out of his piggy bank on his dresser.   What a guy!

 

Savor life's best,

Aimee

 

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Posted By Aimee Wilson - Occasions To Savor

For some reason, my 3 year old son has been hugging and kissing a whole lot more this month.  Pehaps it is the talks we've had about showing love, kindness and treating people nice.  For February, the value in the Lessons for Little Ones by Once Upon A Family is Loving-Kindness. There are a couple of exercises in the packet that require writing and expressing what you love about someone.  He was not interested in them and would grow impatient as any 3 year old would, when the talks took too long (longer than 2 minutes).  So, on Valentine's Day, we modified one of them.

 

Instead of enjoying a romantic getaway in some warm climate sipping a refreshing beverage with a colorful umbrella in it, I spent time with my favorite 3 year old.  Despite the fact I did not have anyone to take that fantasy trip with or that I was still regaining strength from a bad cold that swept through our household, I enjoyed our baking activity immensely.

 

We baked a "Love Cake".  Taking the heart-shaped Fondue Pot I use in my chocolate business, we took a store-bought cake mix and made a small Strawberry-flavored heart-shaped cake for his Grammy.  He was so excited about it that he told several people in the store that he was baking a "Love Cake" for his Grammy.  What an enthusiastic helper I had!  He especially liked filling and squeezing the pastry bag with the frosting we used.  Then, when the big moment came, he announced "Here's your Love Cake, Grammy!"

 

To see and feel his excitement, let me know he got the message about doing something for others and showing how much you care for them.  How fitting to do this on Valentine's Day!  And, I learned the value of teaching loving-kindness through the proxy of my son.  We'll try for the other loving-kindness activities next year <<smile>>

 

Savor life's best,

Aimee

 

http://www.OccasionsToSavor.com

 


 
Posted By Aimee Wilson - Occasions To Savor

There is a lot of work ahead of our country and our new President.  Hard Work is one of the values I'd like my son to adopt.  Having a strong work ethic can take someone very far.

 

One of my favorite companies, Once Upon A Family, offers a way for families to emphasis the values they cherish the most and hope to pass on.  Lessons For Little Ones is a monthly program with practical activities to emphasize a particular family value.  The family works on that family value for 30 days.  Although this program series is ideally for 4 year olds - pre-teens, I started working with my 3 year old on this series last month.  The December value was "Respect".  With a little modification, we completed a monthly long focus on this value.  For January, the family value is "Hard Work". 

 

With "Hard Work", there were 3 chores my son can perform:  clearing the plates from the dinner table, pulling his blanket on his bed, and dressing his stuffed friend, Alex who teaches buttoning, zipping, etc.  He would earn a sticker to put on a game-like board, which leads to the incentive you and your child have selected to work toward.  Well, he decided he did not really want the incentive he asked for and did not really want to do all the activities - "I dressed Alex once.  What else should I do with him?"  The work must go on.  So, we ditched the incentive part and practice whatever tasks I can get him to perform on a daily basis.  Like most 3 year olds, he can be cooperative on some days and totally uncooperative on other days.

 

I like the ability to take 30 days to focus the family's attention on a family value.  It focuses my son and I on a shared activity.  We carve time out to do the tasks.  So, it is an intentional activity for us.  I like the simplicity of the activities.  If you'd like more information about Lessons For Little Ones or Once Upon A Family, visit http://www.OnceUponAFamily.com.

 

Savor life's best,

Aimee


 


 
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