It’s that time of year, where we are reminded to be thankful for all that we have. We at EFC in Eagan want to thank YOU, our parents and families, for sharing your precious children with us each and every day. We are very thankful that you all are a part of our center family.
Friday, November 16, we will be having a Friendship snack. The way this works is… each child in the center brings in an ingredient for a snack mix. The ingredients are mixed together and each child gets a portion for snack and another to take home and share. If you would like to bring in an ingredient, please drop it off to your child’s teacher by Thursday, November 15. Possible ingredient ideas are: small crackers, dried fruit, goldfish crackers, cheerios, chex, raisins, craisins, etc. No peanuts or peanut products please!
Parent Teacher Conferences will be held on November 19-21. We hope you'll take advantage of the chance to sit down and talk to your child's teacher on a one-to-one basis. We are excited to explain our curriculum and talk about the goals and objectives for your child. Each conference will be 15 minutes. Sign-up sheets will be posted by your child's classroom.
A few dates to keep in mind:
  • Thursday, November 1, is Picture Day!
  • EFC will be closed on Thursday, November 22, and Friday, November 23, for Thanksgiving.
  • EFC will also be closed on Monday, December 24, and Tuesday, December 25, for the Christmas holiday. 
The weather is starting to change quickly, and as long as the weather permits we will still be going outside every day. Please be sure that your child’s cubby includes the following supplies:

  • Hat
  • Mittens
  • Boots
  • Coat

1. Express your gratitude.
Have a moment of thanks each day when everyone shares something they’re thankful for. Whether the list includes a favorite toy, a particularly good piano lesson or a birthday card from Nana, this daily tradition can help develop a positive frame of mind. Older kids might even prefer to keep a gratitude journal and write down a few things they were thankful for each day before going to bed. This can be especially important if your child has had a particularly hard day or is in a negative mood. Realizing the good in their lives can result in a quick and significant shift of attitude.

2. Be a grateful parent.
What an invaluable exercise it is to tell our kids why we’re grateful to have them! It goes without saying that we love our kids, and that we’re thankful beyond words for their love, their smiles, their hugs and so much more. When we tell them what makes them special to us, their self-esteem is boosted for the right reasons (not because they have the latest smartphone or because they’re dressed fashionably). Plus, our example shows them that gratitude extends well beyond material things.

3. Resist the urge to shower them with too much “stuff.”
The old adage “all things in moderation” is a useful guideline here. Of course, we to want to give our kids the best, and this isn’t to suggest that we refuse to buy them anything but the bare essentials. But buying kids whatever they want, whenever they want, dilutes the gratitude impulse and it can mean that they don’t learn to value or respect their possessions. They wind up having so much stuff, they don’t appreciate each toy or game or device, as they keep setting their sights on what’s shinier and newer.

4. Have them pitch in when they want something.
If your kids get an allowance or earn money at a job, have them participate in buying some of the things they want. When kids themselves take the time to save up, they have an ownership stake in the purchase and gain an understanding of the value of a dollar by working toward what they want. It also teaches restraint and encourages kids to appreciate what they have, as well as giving them a more realistic perspective on what you and others do for them.

5. Keep thank-you notes on hand.
Sadly, sending handwritten thank-you notes seems to be a dying art. But it’s actually a perfect way to encourage kids to express gratitude — and as an added bonus, it can make the recipient’s day. Of course, it’s more than appropriate for kids to send notes when they receive gifts, but we can also encourage them to thank teachers at the end of the school year, Little League coaches, ballet teachers, kind pediatricians, helpful librarians, families who host them for overnights or parties. There are loads of opportunities throughout the year for kids to recognize and thank those who have done something special for them, and it’s a habit that if they start young, they’ll naturally carry throughout life. It’s important that kids compose and handwrite the notes themselves, and we as parents can set the example by making sure to write thank-you notes on a variety of occasions.

6. Set a good example by saying “thank you” sincerely and often.
The values our kids embrace as they get older aren’t those we nag them into learning, but the ones they see us living out. There are countless opportunities every day for us to model gratitude for our kids — for example, thanking the waitress who serves your food, the cashier who rings you up at the grocery store, the teller at the bank who cashes your check. When our kids see us expressing sincere thanks all the time, they’ll be more inclined to do so as well.

7. Encourage them to give back.
The old saying “it’s better to give than to receive” has stuck around for a reason. It really does feel great to help someone else out. Depending on their ages, kids can rake leaves for an elderly neighbor, say, or volunteer at a nursing home a few hours a week. You might even make service a family activity. When kids give their time and energy to help others, they’re less likely to take things like health, home and family for granted.

8. Insist on politeness and respect all around.
When we teach our children to treat others with dignity and respect, they’ll be more likely to appreciate the ways in which those folks contribute to and improve their lives. By the same token, they’ll be less likely to take assistance and kindness for granted, and more likely to give it the value it deserves. It’s crucial for us as parents to model for our children the importance of treating all people with respect.

11 Tips for Instilling True Gratitude in Your Kids
This may seem like an unusual topic as we enter the holiday season when most of us are anything but bored. But I think it is easy to forget that we all need down time. Times to rest, regroup, or read a good book give us the energy to enjoy the more active and interactive times that are in store for us during these next couple of months. This is true for children as well as adults.

But the other thing to consider is that being bored is good for us. You are actually doing your job as a parent when you allow your child to be bored.

Two aspects of boredom that we may not fully realize are pointed out in an article in Psychology Today by Nancy Colier, author of the book The Power of Off: The Mindful Way to Stay Sane in a Virtual World. First, when we are bored we have to use our imaginations: we have to invent food for our attention. Colier writes “Regardless of how available and rich the opportunities have become for avoiding boredom, the ability to self-play, create, generate, self-engage is still a profoundly important skill in the development of a healthy human being.”

“Secondly, when a child says, ‘I’m bored’, it’s because he can’t find anything that interests him. But where is he looking? Usually he’s looking outside himself. When we frantically shove a next activity in front of our child because he’s bored, we’re creating (and supporting) his belief that without something added to himself, he’s nothing.”

“The remarkable invitation that boredom offers is the invitation to spend time with, take interest in, or at the very least, learn to tolerate our own company.”

I picked up a copy of the Time Magazine special edition of The Science of Families and have found it interesting. There is a section on The Best Parenting Advice Ever, which quotes 32 child development “experts” and their tips to parents. Melissa Bernstein, co-founder of Melissa & Doug toys had this to say: “Let your kids get bored – it’s the essential ingredient of childhood. A kid won’t begin to use his imagination until he has to dig deep and create something from nothing."

Another quote was from Paul Tough, author of How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity and the Hidden Power of Character. “Instead of toys that beep and glow, pick the kind your grandparents played with: blocks, balls, sticks. They nurture creativity and curiosity – more critical to a child’s success, in my opinion, than test scores.”

So whether it is making sure your child has periods of down time to refuel, or thinking of the types of gifts you might purchase for holidays, keep in mind that time and materials that allow children to create or solve problems on their own have huge value. Being bored sometimes is good for all of us!

Now-1/6  XOXO, An Exhibit About Love and Forgiveness , Children's Museum, Saint Paul
11/4 Kids Dance Party , Can Can Wonderland, Saint Paul
11/6-1/6  How the Grinch Stole Christmas , Children's Theatre, Minneapolis
11/16-12/27  Mary Poppins Jr. , Stages Theatre, Hopkins
11/22  Drumstick Dash 10k and Cranberry Cruise 1 Mile , Lake Harriet, Minneapolis
11/22  LifeTime Turkey Day 5k , Minneapolis
11/23-12/23  Holidazzle , Minneapolis

We feel privileged when EFC families take the time to share their family and cultural traditions. It is a wonderful experience for both the children and the teaching staff, and we all benefit by learning from one another! If you have a family or cultural tradition you would like to share, please let your director know.
>> Read about some recent experiences on the blog .
Especially for Children
3370 Coachman Rd. 
Eagan, MN 55121 
(651) 452-0043 

Center Directors:
Pam Tuft and Bri Dieffenbach