Archive for the ‘Traditions’ Category

How to go on after Toys “R” Us ceases to exist

Sunday, March 25th, 2018

At the heart of every family tradition is a meaningful experience.

We had a wonderful family tradition in the early 90’s.

On Friday evenings after work, I would pick the kids up from day care, take them to the Chinese restaurant and put in our order.  We would then walk next door to Blockbuster to choose a movie and head back to pick up the food.  While heading back we did this sort of conga/salsa dance move singing a little homemade song to the words ‘Chinese food and movies’.

Friday’s were sacred and totally dedicated to family time after a busy work week.  All the week night rules were out the window.  We popped the movie in the VCR, sat in front of the TV and ate our Chinese food.

The tradition lasted until Blockbuster went out of business.

But their failure to evolve as a business was not going to impact our family tradition; we simply moved to Netflix.

Now, with the liquidation of Toys “R” Us many family traditions will change. Where they would have headed to the store to celebrate a good report card, birthday, or holiday, that special trip just won’t happen again.

But you don’t have to lose the joy because you lost the toy.  Instead build memories with experiential gifts.

Why reward the report card, when you can reward the effort?  If your child just completed a dinosaur diorama, take them to a museum that features dinosaurs such as The Museum of Natural History.

Why just give a book as a gift, when you can give a whole experience? One of the best gifts my daughter received from family was the book, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, celebrated with a walk over the Brooklyn Bridge and lunch in Brooklyn.

If you are one of those amazing sports families, you may want to consider planning a trip to the hall of fame of your favorite sport.

There are many opportunities where families can stay close to home, and for little money attend local festivals, or support the local high school by attending concerts, plays and sporting events.  This also teaches kids they are part of a community.

Rather than worrying about your kids’ use of technology, host family game nights.

Why wait for the big holidays?  You can celebrate everyday holidays so there is always something to look forward to.

Here are a few examples:

January

  • Science Fiction Day – Jan 2nd
  • Sunday Supper Day – Jan 14th
  • Kazoo Day – Jan 28th

February

  • Random Acts of Kindness – Feb 17th
  • Margarita Day – Feb 22nd (ok, that’s clearly NOT for the kids!)
  • Tell a Fairy Tale Day – Feb 26th

March

  • Dr. Seuss Day (Read across America) Mar 2nd
  • Pi Day – Mar 14th
  • Take a Walk in the Park Day – Mar 30th

April

  • Peanut Butter & Jelly Day – Apr 2nd
  • Teach Children to Save Day – Apr 20th
  • Take our Kids to Work Day – Apr 26th

May

  • Star Wars Day – May 4th
  • Teacher Appreciation Day – May 8th
  • Take your Parents to the Playground Day – May 20th

June

  • Drive-In Movie Day – Jun 6th
  • Flag Day – June 14th
  • Meteor Watch Day – Jun 30th

July

  • Mac and Cheese Day – Jul 14th
  • Toss away ‘Could Have Should Have’ Day – Jul 21st
  • Cousins Day – Jul 24th

August

  • Friendship Day – Aug 5th
  • Bowling Day – Aug 11th
  • Tooth Fairy Day – Aug 22nd

September

  • Day of Encouragement  – Sep 12th
  • Talk Like a Pirate Day – Sep 19th
  • Family Health and Fitness Day – Sep 29th

October

  • Do Something Nice Day – Oct 5th
  • Mad Hatter Day – Oct 6th
  • Magic Day – Oct 31st

November

  • STEM/STEAM Day – Nov 8th
  • Philanthropy Day – Nov 15th
  • Day of Giving – Nov 27th

December

  • Pretend to be a Time Traveler Day – Dec 8th
  • Nobel Prize Day – Dec 10th
  • Thank –You Note Day – Dec 26th

Here are 62 ideas I posted last year, that are especially helpful as you plan for summer.

Personally, I am deeply saddened by the store closings.   I so enjoyed taking my children there, and I was looking forward to taking my grandchildren there too. I worked at Toys “R” Us for many years with amazing and talented people who will not only lose the traditions, but their jobs.

Change is the only constant, but we need to teach our children resilience.   I hope these ideas help all of us move on.

Wishing you the very best,

Tina Nocera, Founder

Parental Wisdom®

 

 

Time to start new traditions

Sunday, October 29th, 2017

Michael & Matthew

Planning the perfect costume, only to have your child change his/her mind two days before.   Pulling the kids off the ceiling from the incredible sugar rush as they ate their way through their trick or treat bag. Rushing out of work in your Kohl’s holiday sweater with the pumpkin pockets so you would never miss a single Halloween parade.

As I think back on these moments, I smile and realize it was my time with my kids, and look forward to the realization that my adult children will get to build their own memories and traditions.

Where we pulled ideas from magazines, they have Pinterest. We took dozens of pictures of the kids and their friends in the hopes we had a single keeper; they post directly to Instagram, Facebook, and share Snapchat stories.

In the end, parents both past and present gets to have their moment. And despite how we get there or how it is shared, it is a tradition that each family gets to build, and the way each family creates their own culture.

Why does that matter you might ask? So that many years from now, you sit around a holiday table, and laugh about how perfectly imperfect it all works out.

And you smile happy tears that you had those moments. They are after all, your new traditions!

Happy Halloween!

 

Tina Nocera, Founder

Parental Wisdom®

 

 

 

What are the things we really need?

Thursday, December 29th, 2016

Your children need your presence more than your presents. Jesse Jackson

When answering questions on the TV show Jeopardy, you must phrase your answers in the form of a question.

Assume the category was, “Things that matter,” the answer properly phrased would be “What are the things we really need.”

Our needs are simple. Our wants are much greater. I love to subscribe to this philosophy for buying gifts for children:

  1. Something to wear
  2. Something to read
  3. Something they want
  4. Something they need

Plus one more gift; something to give. As we celebrating our grandson’s first Christmas, we bought him:

  1. A Santa outfit which you will see in the video
  2. The classic Polar Express book
  3. A toy selected by his parents
  4. Money for his college fund

We made a donation to Doctors Without Borders in his name. As he gets older and understands more, we will let him select the charity of his choosing. I personally don’t know any needy children, but if we buy them too much, we will raise greedy children.

Now that my children are adults, I realize we could have bought them less. The children won’t remember all the gifts they opened on Christmas morning, but they will remember the things they need; the time you spend with them and traditions and memories you shared on this and every holiday.

Enjoy the fun we had and memories we are building.

Have a happy and healthy New Year!

Tina Nocera, Founder

Parental Wisdom®

How sweet potatoes can keep our traditions yet change our view of the world

Wednesday, November 30th, 2016

We had such an amazing Thanksgiving, and loved sharing our traditions and stories with our new grandson.  The videos are below.

But here is an interesting connection related to something we love as a tradition, yet take for granted – sweet potatoes!

Four scientists have been awarded the 2016 World Food Prize for enriching sweet potatoes, which resulted in health benefits for millions of people. Please read this incredible article to see science and parent education can have transformational effects on millions of pre-school children in 118 nations.

And to us, it was simply a traditional side dish!

Enjoy the holiday season!

 

Tina Nocera, Founder

Parental Wisdom®

 

The true meaning of ping

Sunday, March 20th, 2016

ravioli

Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all. 

Harriet van Horne

They purchased all the ingredients and planned the day so they could make well over a hundred ravioli before Easter. The women would gather in the basement of the row house on 44th Street in Brooklyn in an assembly line fashion.  Aprons on and work area set, they would focus on making dough and the filling, which was called “ping.”

On Easter Sunday, the family would eagerly gather at the table for a traditional first course. I never understood the origin of the word ping, and never gave it much thought until many years later as the colloquial use of the word would mean reaching out to connect with someone. You might hear someone say, “Ping me when you’re available.”

It’s funny, but that is what the ping filling did all those years ago; it connected everyone in the family.  We found the recipe and yesterday we followed it. Since taste is such a powerful memory trigger, we believe we got it right because the stories of those family gatherings so long ago seemed as if they happened only yesterday.

I suppose the true meaning on the word “ping” is connections after all.  And today is National Ravioli Day!

Mangia!

Tina Nocera, Founder

Parental Wisdom®

What do you want for Christmas?

Thursday, December 17th, 2015

everett

Truly wonderful the mind of a child is.

Yoda to Obi-Wan about the purity of innocence and the insights that can be gleamed from listening to fresh ideas. – Episode II: Attack of the Clones

While wrapping my gifts I noticed empty paper cardboard rolls and ribbon spools.  Rather than toss them out, I looked at them differently; almost as if they would be treated as treasures for children with wonderful imaginations.

My thinking was heightened as I had recently spent time with such a little boy.  He seemed to be able to make a game out of any object, and included adults as part of the game.  That gave him time to get to know and appreciate us. When we left his house, he turned and said, “I want to give you one more hug.” I thought how priceless it is for family to hear that from a child.

I suspect that was largely due to the creative freedom he had to make up his own games.  Since he was a four-year-old boy, naturally the games involved a lot of physical movement.  But that might be why he was so happy.  I remember an interview a number of years ago with Dr. Vicki who talked about little boys and anger.  Please listen to her complete broadcast on dealing with anger, but the message is that little children, especially boys, need to move and play.  If they don’t have such opportunities, their pent up energy is displaced as irritability and anger.

When buying your children presents for Christmas, remember that playing with them makes the game so much better and far more memorable.

See how these toys from the past 100 years jar your memory.

During this holiday season, remember it’s more than the gift or the toy.  Be part of the fun and include extended family as well. The time you play with them is what the kids will remember.

Merry Christmas

Happy Hanukkah

Happy Kwanzaa

Tina Nocera, Founder

Parental Wisdom®

 

 

The Thanksgiving Table

Wednesday, November 25th, 2015

I am grateful for what I am and have. My thanksgiving is perpetual.

Henry David Thoreau

This past weekend, Saturday Night Live did a great skit about a family Thanksgiving ‘discussion’ and how the Adele song Hello made people stop and think.

The scene is likely repeated in homes all over the country; it’s a great, simple message.  No need for controversy; we will have differences of opinion, but let’s be thankful for the people around the table, and in our lives.

Peace is harmony, and something we can create for ourselves.

Enjoy spending time with the people that you love, and give thanks you are able to celebrate with them.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Tina Nocera, Founder

Parental Wisdom®

We are moved by our emotions

Friday, January 3rd, 2014

“The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart”

 -Helen Keller

One of life’s biggest frustrations is knowing the right thing to do and not doing it.

Sometimes it is because we wait for things to be perfect which is like saying I don’t want to leave for work until all the lights are green.

But a friend (thanks Suzanne!) posted a link to an article The Important Thing About Yelling by Rachel Macy Stafford which causes you to stop and think.

That article coupled with an amazing ad directed to moms demonstrates how critical moms are of the job they do, while their kids have a totally different and far more positive reaction.

The clichés express we are to enjoy each moment. Since we are driven by our emotions, I thought the article and video will help.

But simply stated moms, lighten up!

You see – the greatest impact you will have in the world is on your own family.  And you can do that every day in little ways by finding reasons to celebrate without waiting for the big traditional holidays.

First up – Trivia Day – January 4th

What I love about this ‘holiday’ is that you could tailor it to your own family.   Think about creating:

For future ‘holiday’ days/dates – please follow me on Twitter

Have a great week!

Tina Nocera, Founder

Parental Wisdom®

Random Acts of Kindness 2013

Sunday, December 1st, 2013

The countdown begins!

December 1 is day one as little children open Advent Calendars eager to find a surprise each day until December 24th.

The holiday season is our time to build family memories.  

Some families cut down their own tree; others watch classic holiday movies, some bake cookies, while others write an annual holiday letter.  The common thread is just that – a thread, and threads are like habits.

Habits are like a cable. We weave a strand of it everyday and soon it cannot be broken.

-Horace Mann

It’s never too late to start new traditions. I’m going to start a new tradition this year which is to perform a random act of kindness each day until December 24th.

Please follow me on twitter #randomactsofkindness2013.

Traditions matter more than the gifts and more than you realize. Ask your children about their favorite holiday traditions. Guarantee this will make you smile.

Have a great week!

Tina Nocera, Founder
Parental Wisdom®

It’s really great to be Santa

Monday, December 24th, 2012

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.  He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exists, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy.  Thank God! He lives, and he lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay ten times ten thousand years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.  -Francis Pharcellus Church, in an Editorial in the New York Sun, Sept. 21, 1897, responding to a letter from 8-year old Virginia O’Hanlon

How amazing it is to be Santa! 

  • To only see the good in people have
  • To know what brings delight to someone because you listened carefully
  • To have a constant smile on your face
  • To take incredible pride in your work
  • To eat exactly what you want and still fit in your clothes

Here is hoping that you have a wonderful, memorable and safe Christmas!

Tina Nocera, Founder

Parental Wisdom®