Wednesday, January 4, 2012

On Smart Parenting: 6 Things To Try With Your Kids This New Year

The New Year is now upon us, and many of us have already gone back to the daily routine of going to work, doing household chores, and taking care of our children (not that the latter stops during the holidays – parenting, after all, is a 24/7 task!). Most of us too, have probably made our New Year’s resolutions (and hopefully, have not broken any of them yet); and taken steps to improving ourselves. It is a new year after all!

Since we’re on the subject of “new,” we might as well try out new things too –stuff we’ve NEVER experienced nor done before. This year, we suggest six things you may want to do with your kids to make this year one of your most memorable yet!

1. Create your own storybook(s).
If your children are anything like mine, they probably love pretending to be the hero or heroine in the stories you read to them. This year, why not make your kids’ fantasies in a way come true – by making your own storybooks with your kids and other family members as the main characters? 
As a family, come up with different “plots” for your stories. You could base them on your family’s personal experiences, or draw inspiration from other books. 

You may also want to choose which “genre” you’d like your book to focus on – inspirational, biographical, comedy, horror, general fiction, etc. Don’t pressure yourselves, though – remember that you’re doing this just for the fun of it! 

If you have older kids who can already write and draw, involve them in the “creation” of the book by having them write parts of the story or illustrate the story.  Smaller children can contribute by having their own “pages” in the book – let them scribble or draw to their heart’s content on blank pages that can be “page breakers” in your book. 

If you’re really ambitious, or find yourselves enjoying this activity, you may even want to write sequels to your book in the future. You never know - your literary creations may even get published, like the Giuliano family’s book “All the Way to God”, which stemmed from a simple family bedtime routine.

2. Make your own documentary film or music video.
If you’re not the writing type, you may want to have a go at making your own family film instead. This could take just a few minutes of your time; alternatively, you may want to make it a year-round project. 

Here are some ideas for your film or video project:
•    Make a documentary about your family and include interviews of different family members. You may want to make your own family tree before doing this. This would be a great way to teach your kids about their grandparents, ancestors, and other relatives.
•    Make a family video with compiled recordings of each family member completing these sentences (or something similar): “In five years’ time, I will ______________,” “I can change the world by ______________,” “I am grateful for ________________,” “I will stop _____________.”
•    Make a music video by getting each family member to sing certain parts of a favorite family song or hymn. You may opt to sing your parts in a certain way – dramatically, wackily, rocker-style, opera-style, etc. Have fun belting out the lyrics and dancing to the rhythm of the music! If you’re not shy about doing so, upload the video online for posterity - who knows, you and your family could become the next YouTube sensation!

3. Build your own family time capsule.
According to the U.S. Library of Congress, a time capsule is “a collection of objects put together to preserve the memory of a place, experience, or group of people at one point in time. People often make time capsules for special public occasions, and for others to open many years in the future.” People can make one to celebrate a family event, to remind them of a special experience, or to remember friends, family, or school – or something else important to them.

Building a family time capsule will enable you and your kids to go back in time and see your “past selves.” This will especially be a good thing to do if your kids are still very young. For detailed tips on how to make your own family time capsules, click here and here.

(This is the first part of an article I wrote for Smart Parenting Philippines' website. To continue reading the rest of the article, please click here.)

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