“We can all agree that the holidays can bring out the best in us and the worst in us,” said Dr. Brown. “As the big end-of-year holidays approach, it is common to get anxious about how much there is to do, whether we have enough gifts to make everyone happy, and if our celebration of family and religious traditions will go as we hope. Our motives may be the best, but execution can be daunting.”
2. Think beyond your family.
4. Gift outside the box – literally.
5. Don’t overlook the art of receiving.
According to Dr. Brown, dealing with disappointed expectations during the holidays provides an opportunity to support children’s learning process and emphasize that the holidays are about sharing time with loved ones, not about the size of the gifts. He recommends being present to each other, remembering that children ascertaining how to handle intense feelings is rarely a smooth course, and being tolerant of their mistakes, as you would want them to be of yours. “Emotional honesty goes a long way to healing the wounds of dashed expectations,” commented Dr. Brown.
To build an ethic of caring, commit to emphasizing the power of giving throughout the year, encouraged Dr. Brown. When tensions and expectations are high is not the best time to introduce and ask for or demand new behaviors from kids. If you’re beginning this holiday season, start small. Learning about giving and how to do it from a place of compassion takes an open mind, as well as an open heart, and repeated exposures.
“Avoiding being swept up in societal pressures to dazzle our kids with exciting gifts in pretty packages is one of the biggest challenges for parents during the holiday season,” observed Leigh Ann Errico, CEO & Founder of Wear the Cape & the kidkind foundation. “Teaching children to appreciate non-material blessings all year round helps parents battle expectations for excess.”
Errico, an experienced leadership coach, built Wear the Cape and established the kidkind foundation in 2013 when she identified the need for resources on kindness and character-building that would appeal to her own four children. The idea for the brand was sparked when she observed that the chance to wear a cape—the organization’s logo—motivates children to act like heroes, or “Cape Kids,” in order to live up to the symbol of honor.
Wear the Cape is kicking off its #BetterThanPresents challenge and inviting people of all ages to post a short video on social media sharing what they want this holiday season that money can’t buy, then daring friends and family to do the same. Join in! Include the hashtag #BetterThanPresents when posting your video, and tag your friends and Wear the Cape's Facebook page (www.facebook.com/wearthecape/).
Learn more about Wear the Cape, at wearthecapekids.com.