by Nancy Schneider, PHEc, M.Sc., C.I.M.
It’s wonderful to watch the joy and excitement of a young child who discovers or accomplishes something new. As we grow, we hide our enthusiasm and joy over our accomplishments. However, no matter what our age, we all enjoy being recognized and appreciated. As a family, it is important to recognize all members’ contributions and accomplishments. Here is a simple way you can incorporate recognition into your daily lives: The Special Chair.
Find a way to designate a chair as “the special” chair. This might be a special bow that gets placed on the chair, or perhaps some balloons tied onto the chair. Or maybe you can sew a slip cover for the chair. Not a sewist? No problem, just use a pillow case.
You might be fortunate enough to find a pillow case that will actually fit over the chair but if not there is a simple solution. Cut some holes on each side of the pillow case about 1.5 inches from the edge. Then, cut the sides of the pillow case almost to the top. Now you can slip the pillow case over and then “tie” it onto the chair. You can use ribbon, string, or yarn to lace through the holes. Make sure the pillow case is on the chair then, tighten each side and tie a bow at the end to hold the case in place.
The ties will add some decoration to the pillowcase, but you can certainly do more to make it the “special chair”. You may have been luck and found a pillow case that had a print that makes the chair look special. But if not here is our chance to get the kids involved. Simply use whatever you have handy to decorate the case. You may want to do one or both sides, just keep in mind that someone will be sitting with their back against one side.
You can use fabric paint, stickers, glue, stencils, markers and whatever else you have on hand. Perhaps you want to have multiple cases (especially if you have multiple children). So each child can decorate a pillow case. When their case is used on the chair they will know they are the special person!
Sometimes families want to recognize someone as special, but won’t be sitting down together. A quick and easy way to let someone know you appreciate them and recognize what they have done is to use cards. You can use actual blank cards, or buy blank business card sheets. Then let everyone create their own notes. The small size will allow you to slip these into lunch bags, briefcases, purses or even pockets! A great surprise to find throughout the day.
Whatever method you choose will help to bring your family closer together and more aware of each person’s accomplishments.
Nancy is a Professional Home Economist and has held management, administrative, and instructional appointments with the University of Manitoba. Her educational background includes child development, communication, human resources, and management. She has experience working with pre-schoolers and their families, university students, as well as adult learners.