Values in a Box
How can parents practice key values with their kids in a simple, fun and easy way?
Seven years of motherhood and several conversations with parents whom I met through my work strengthened my belief that many parents yearn to find ways to help their children learn and live by values. And each one tends to do this in different capacities.
That brings us to the question - How do children learn values? A first-hand insight from parenting is that children like to observe and do what parents do. And children, especially 5 years and above, do not like any advice or lecture from parents! I realized that doing acts of kindness together as family helped my daughter learn more than reading moral stories at bed time.
However, given the limited time that parents actually get to spend with their children, what parents seem to need are skillful means to help their children learn and practice values. Then the thought occurred - what if we could use the power of photos, games, art and craft to simplify the communication of values like gratitude and kindness by creating a fun tool kit for the entire family to engage with? It would be nice if values can be served in a physical box just like a do-it-yourself quilling kit or a Monopoly game box that comes with pointers.
By putting together a kit, we provide parents with a ready base and context to get started on a meaningful conversation with their children.
Just to check how much Simran (our 7 year old daughter) has been able to assimilate about gratitude from whatever we have communicated and practiced together, I asked her 'What are you thankful for?' and this was her impromptu response:
"Thank you God for giving me such a wonderful mother, such a wonderful father [...] Have you seen, there are some children who live in streets without parents! They don't have food or water and no place to have bath. So guess how much I have. I have wonderful parents, wonderful house, wonderful games and my whole family is wonderful. I am so lucky!"
This reaffirmed to me the importance of practicing values together and realized that it is possible for children to understand a concept like gratitude in their own way.
What will the Kit Help Achieve?
With the kit, parents get to practice good values together with their children and therefore, there is no teacher and no student, both are in it together. This way, they get to feel like equals and hopefully do not end up feeling like sitting through a value education class.
Once we pilot this, and make tweaks based on feedback and have a critical mass of parents using the kit, we could facilitate and provide a platform for sharing their practices online.
We could also look at schools that can adopt this for Value Education and make it more fun and appealing for kids where the teachers themselves participate.
In a market flooded with Barbies and Ben10s, this could make for a unique birthday gift .
How do we get started?
At the recently concluded Startup Service gathering, we created a demo/ prototype kit on GRATITUDE. It would be great if we can work together and refine the contents of this kit.
Here's a glimpse of what went inside the box:
a) A photo scrap book based on a scavenger hunt or pointers we design
b) A dice-based game called Kinditude that has on-the-spot gratitude/kindness acts specified at different points
c) A set of heart pins to thank people who help us every day
d) Context-based "mind story" cards (e.g. Grandmother-Learning-Gratitude) that encourage expression of gratitude through stories for both parent and child.
e) Gratitude journal for both parent and child (designed as facing pages) which they can fill in every evening before going to sleep.
f) A set of 'Thank Nature' series of cards that have a colouring activity on the front and a little knowledge note on the back as to why thank the trees or the bees or the sun.
g) Nimo's Empty Hands CD with lyrics.
h) A gratitude practice deck like the smile deck with small practices one can do to weave in gratitude into our lives and categorized - For Yourself, For Family, For the Planet?
i) A set of pre-designed cards that one can quickly use to leave a personalized thank you note for someone -- a neighbour, colleague, friend or family member.
Expressing my deep gratitude to everyone who helped co-create this and excited to take this ahead with all your support and blessings :)
To engage with this project, please contact us anytime.