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Consumer Behavior

10 Ways Mother's Day Provides Life Lessons to Children

Mother's Day provides many teachable moments for children.

If you Google “Mother's Day,” a list of every possible gift imaginable for a mom on Mother's Day appears. While there’s a role for this consumerism, it’s what comes in addition to that, underneath all the ornaments that make the day special for moms. After all, Mother’s Day was originated as a day to celebrate hard-working mothers. All the nice presents are great but there should also come a celebration of the day as it was intended, to honor mothers with love and extra time and respect for all their hard work.

It would be easy to simply go along with the advertising industry and believe that the annual gift of flowers on Mother’s Day is just what mom needs. Partially it’s what she needs, but the celebration only begins there. Those items are gestures that can be paired with heartfelt actions to really demonstrate how truly special mom is.

It’s the intangibles with the tangibles that make a great day for mom. Honoring mom’s value by buying her that great dress, or those beautiful flowers, or using the day as a way to get the family together for that once-a-year all-afternoon brunch event is one half of the equation. I, for one, actually like these ways of recognizing mom. They are concrete and can make memories through shared experiences or an item that can be remembered as a revered artifact.

Let’s acknowledge the intangible halves of the equations, the actions that don’t involve buying items but are personal expressions that recognize the value of mom in a personal, unique, and truly individual way.

Here are 10 ways kids can show mom a very special Mother’s Day.

1. Show gratitude. How kids demonstrate their own personal gratitude to their mothers is an important exercise for many reasons. It allows them to have a chance to take some precious time and really think about how special their mom is and how much they depend on her and need her in their lives. Kids feel this daily, but few take the time to think about it in a way that they can express their feelings. The process of doing this at least once a year for mom is important to help kids develop the skills of communicating heartfelt, emotional feelings to a loved one.

2. Be selfless. Mother’s Day is also an opportunity for kids to learn to be selfless. As much as many kids would like to think that what their moms want is to be with their families and spend the day being a family, not all moms view Mother’s Day this way. Moms are busier and busier, and many see the day as a chance to be away guilt-free with friends or treating themselves to rest and relaxation at a spa. If it’s mom’s choice to take a break from family life and life in general, that’s okay. Kids need to learn to put her needs first on Mother’s Day and accept it.

3. Practice self-expression. Kids can learn to develop their writing skills by writing a letter to their moms on Mother’s Day, leaving a tangible piece of themselves for her to look back on for years to come. For those who can’t write, they can dictate their thoughts for her to read.

4. Be creative in gift-giving. A gift of a picture of mom with her children on Mother's Day is a great way to show mom how much she means and give her something she can remember the day by.

5. Be thoughtful. Buying mom something that she’s wanted forever but couldn’t justify buying for herself would be greatly appreciated by mom because even if she doesn’t think she’s worth that bag, you all do.

6. Get your hands dirty. Give her a helping hand by doing a task for her that she absolutely hates like laundry or cleaning out the refrigerator, something that everyone knows she can't stand but still has to do regularly anyway.

7. Keep it going. Extending Mother's Day by doing something special for her every day of the week for seven days to show her that it doesn't have to be defined just by the holiday established by society. Family can help moms every day.

8. Be gracious. Mother’s Day is an opportunity for kids to learn to do things they hate doing with a smile on their faces because they are doing those things for mom. Learning to be gracious is an important skill and my guess is that many moms role-model it every day for their kids. Being gracious teaches compassion and sacrifice more than just buying her a new dress.

9. Be loving. Giving mom frequent hugs and kisses spontaneously so she can know that when it's her special day kids really want to lavish her with love to show her how special she is.

10. Accept mom, flaws and all. Kids who allow mom to be human and make mistakes without being critical of her while showing her compassion give her a truly wonderful gift of appreciation.

More from Kate Roberts Ph.D.
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