This month our focus at Especially for Children is “ Mi Familia,” and we thought it would be a great time of the year to talk about family traditions.

Traditions. Those little rituals passed down from generation to generation that help shape your family by creating a sense of unity, warmth, and closeness.

They create memories that fill your mind with peace, love, happiness, and security. Traditions do not have to be extravagant, intense, or require a lot of planning. They are just little rituals that you and your family enjoy doing together.

Here are a few simple ideas that can get you started on creating your own family
traditions. If you have any unique traditions that you would like to share with your child’s class—please feel free to bring in photos or the ideas to your child’s teacher.

  • Read a book to your child every night in the same “comfy chair”.
  • Have a Friday night pizza and movie night.
  • Exercise together—go for a walk (stroller ride) together as a family.
  • Have a family night date night once a month. (It can be as simple as going out to dinner or it can be an activity-based “date” night where you go to a favorite park, etc.)
  • Enjoy a weekly game night or for younger children—puzzle night—where you put simple puzzles together as a family.
  • Create gifts together. (Make something special for grandparents/family members/friends over the holidays.)
  • Cook together—plan a special meal that is easy for everyone to participate in making.
  • Make a “fancy” breakfast for dinner once a week and everyone gets to eat in his/her pajamas!
Dolphins and Monkeys will be visiting the Minnesota Zoo on Thursday, November 15 . The bus leaves at 9:00 am and will return after lunch. (Picnic lunch will be eaten at the zoo.) The cost of the field trip is $9.00 and parents are welcome to attend.
Our annual Holiday Program will be held on Tuesday, December 11. The program starts at 6:45 pm with all classes participating by either doing a fingerplay, singing simple songs, or even using our sign language skills. Please mark your calendars for this fun family event.

Thanksgiving Holiday
Thursday, November 22, 2018 —EFC closed
Friday, November 23, 2018 —EFC closed

Winter Holiday
Monday, December 24, 2018 —EFC closed
Tuesday, December 25, 2018 —EFC closed
Tuesday, January 1, 2019 —EFC closed

VACATION POLICY: After families have been enrolled for 6 months at Especially for Children, the vacation policy states that anytime your child/ren have been gone for 5 consecutive
days, you receive a ½ week’s tuition credit. The policy is unlimited throughout the year. We will have extra attendance logs in the front entry for families to mark an “X” on dates that your child/ren will not be attending during the holidays.

SCHEDULE CHANGES: Please notify the office of schedule changes, especially for early morning drop-offs (6:30-7:00am). We want to make sure we have enough staff scheduled early to accommodate the schedule changes.

BREAKFAST: Please keep in mind that breakfast is served from 8:00-8:30 am.  
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
6223 Dell Road
Eden Prairie MN 55346 
(952) 934-1119 

Center Director:
Cathie Underwood 
Center Assistant Director:
Jamie Rocheford