We had an exciting and very busy December. The enthusiasm of the staff, children, and parents made the month fly by. We hope each of you had a safe, happy and healthy holiday season with time to relax and enjoy some family time. Hopefully, this season was a time to start new traditions or perhaps modify old traditions and reflect on the positive. Happy 2023!
We also want to thank everyone who thought of us this holiday season. The holiday cards, gift cards and presents were very much appreciated. We hope you had a wonderful holiday with your family!! 
Your new tuition rates are in effect January 1. Make sure to watch for your 2022 tax statement which will be distributed as well. I will be emailing copies of the year end taxes to your inbox and will also post a note in Baby/Daily Connect when I send them out.
The center will be closed on Monday, January 2, for New Year’s Day.
During the winter, we all tend to hunker down and hibernate. Here is a list of fun activities to get you and your children out to enjoy some winter fun:
  • Build a snowman!
  • Build a snow fort!
  • Have a snowball fight!
  • Go ice skating
  • Go sledding
  • Go on a nature hike (Woodlake or Richardson Nature Center)
star wellness
At Especially for Children, we love introducing new foods to children—especially new fruits and veggies. Here’s a link to a tasty-looking recipe that your family might try in the new year!
By Angie Williams
Today I sat down at our 10-year-old daughter’s (Abby) desk and noticed a note that her 7-year-old sister (Cora) had left her:
It made me smile to think not only about “a great deal of butter,” but about the care that these girls have for each other…most of the time! And it got me thinking again about how important it is to instill values of kindness and empathy in our children.
A few months ago, I wrote about re-making community connections after the pandemic. In addition to lost meaningful connections with those outside of my smaller circle, it feels that a consequence of pandemic stress was a hit to the basic sense of kindness in our societal interactions. These days, I am becoming more aware of a desire to intentionally smile at strangers, or to be extra patient while waiting in line (you have likely seen the signs at retail establishments: The world is short-staffed; be kind to those who showed up).
In spite of it sometimes taking effort when I am frazzled or in a hurry, it feels better to be kind, and it certainly feels good to receive kindness and grace from others.
Modeling kindness is, of course, one way to help children learn it. Our children are always watching what we do and how we interact with others. As we respond to our own children, we can try to understand and validate their feelings. We can substitute phrases like, “you’re okay” with “I’m sorry you are sad because ….That must be really hard. Can I give you a hug?” And we can help them deal with big feelings in a constructive way.
As they get older, we can talk through situations to help them find an empathetic response. Last night Cora was upset and crying because Abby is moving beyond some of the activities they used to do together; she felt sad that she’s often playing alone. It’s a hard time for a younger sister. While it’s completely natural for Abby to leave those things behind, it’s important that she listens to her sister’s feelings and, through empathy, shows that she values Cora by making an effort to connect with her in a way that works for both girls.
As another example, our family was talking about an amazing project featured in a local magazine through which children with life-limiting illness are able to experience healing using art (https://edinamag.com/ziggys-art-bus-brings-art-all) . When discussing the possibility of engaging with this project, Abby expressed uncertainty about knowing how to interact with the children. We had a meaningful discussion around how important these encounters could be for everyone involved, and we talked about how we would hope to experience the world should our own physical circumstances change.
Several years ago, we wrote a parent article, Cultivating Empathy in Your Child. It provides additional thoughts on empathy and kindness. A resource we shared in that article has been updated to address some of the changes our society has gone through over the last few years:
The topic of empathy in children has also come up in the media recently, if you would like to read more:
As we begin the new year, we wish you and your family good health, happiness, and much kindness!

Now-1/1 Winter Lights, Mn Landscape Arboretum, Chanhassen
Now-1/1 Glow Holiday Festival, CHS Field St. Paul
Now-1/4 Festival of Trees, MOA
Now-1/8 How The Grinch Stole Christmas, Children's Theatre, Minneapolis
Now-1/8 Gingerbread Wonderland, Houses of Norway, Minneapolis
Now-2/23 (Saturdays) Night Trains, TC Model Railroad Museum, St Paul
1/2-2/23 Winter Fete Activities, Bloomington
1/13-2/12 Maybe, Stages Theatre, Hopkins
1/20 Frosty Festival, Eagan                
1/21-2/12 Art Shanty Projects, Lake Harriet, Mpls
1/26-2/5 Winter Carnival, Saint Paul

Find more local family events
Especially for Children
5133 W. 98th St. 
Bloomington, MN 55437  
(952) 831-1435 

Center Director:
Kathy Hane