Yippee it's Mother's Day on May 14. Sleep in, tick; breakfast in bed, tick and those gorgeous home made cards, notes and gifts; tick-a-doodledoo.
I am an absolute sucker for heartfelt thoughts wrapped up in notes, cards, tissue paper flowers and origami chatterboxes, it is just so beautiful and I treasure the looks on the girls' faces each year when they hand them over in glue ridden hands.
This month on Kinderling Radio, I discuss with Shevonne Hunt how these home-made masterpieces are not only the rite of passage for mother's and their offspring but they are valuable literacy opportunities that we don't even realise.
For the podcast listen here or read below.
The importance of special occasions like Mother's Day in assisting children to draw out their emotions and give them opportunities to put feelings into words cannot be undersold. This could be for a mum, grandmother, close relative or female guardian in a child's life. It helps children recognise that sometimes they may not be able to say how they feel, but they can write their emotions down. It shows them the impact written words can have on someone and how they can be treasured.
Writing down personal thoughts and emotions develop a sense of reflection and emotional intelligence.
Home made Mother's gifts are a time honored tradition and fun to make. To get them started, children will need cues or questions posed, to draw out what they want to say. This will in turn help them work out what they want to make. Question prompts from a supervising adult will kick start the imagination (warning: these questions may also be a source of immense horror).
- What is it that mum does that makes you laugh?
- What do you and mum love to do together?
- What does mum do, to make you feel better when you are sad?
- Is there something about mum that is different from all the other mum's? (loaded question alert).
Here is my gift suggestion list, but after working on your question prompts I am sure your kids will come up with their own ideas for Mother's Day:
o A jar of '5 Things I love about you' - small scrolls rolled up inside a jar with reasons why your child loves their mum. It's like a lucky dip. I have one on my desk given to me by my 11 year old and I love pulling a random one out every so often.
o Some children who have difficulty expressing themselves my like to find a favourite quote from a book that reflects how they feel. Write it out and decorate it and pop it in a frame. Eg. 'I love you to the moon and back' or my personal favourite 'I Love You 5 Lollipops'.
o Create a scavenger hunt with notes about what we love or admire in mum hidden around the house - this a great activity for really young kids to do with the assistance of the other parent as it adds a hide and seek element. Also good for kids who aren't overly crafty.
o a simple homemade card is always a great idea but encourage the child to write more than just 'Dear Mum, Happy Mother's Day Love, _____' give them cues (like the questions above) to expand their thoughts.
o A song, poem or skit for kids who love performing or who play an instrument. Their creation will come from writing down their thoughts and developing a song or script.
o A voucher book made up of things that the kids will give or do for their mum. Eg. a voucher for 10 kisses or hugs, a head massage, or making a cup of tea. They need to think about what their mum really enjoys or appreciates. This may also require some realistic assistance from the other parent otherwise you could be up for a new Maserati or a pair of Manolos.
Mother's you may discover some aspects of yourself that you weren't necessarily ready to hear but it will be delivered from those who love you most. Have a beautiful Mother's Day we all deserve it.