I actually think meeting and granting wishes (in moderation) is one of the perks of parenthood and this holiday season, but will be a challenge for many of us, given the economic situation we find ourselves in today. That is why it is so important to help our kids learn to distinguish between realistic wishes that can be met and those that involve reaching, aspiring, and hoping (knowing in reality they may not be met - at least not immediately).
To help kids learn to make (smaller) realistic wishes and (larger) hopeful wishes - talk to them about wishes, wish making, and expectations. Read books about how how different characters make wishes and deal with making those wishes come true. Talk to them about the characters and books where the wishes do not come true and how those characters deal with the frustration, disappointment, and realities they face.
Here are some of my favorite books about wishes:
- A Wish for Wings That Work: An Opus Christmas Story by Berkely Breathed
- Many Moons by James Thurber - about a princess who wants the moon, and how the king's jester finds a solution, where his advisors and wise men could not.
- Ruby's Wish by Shirin Yim
- Ava Tree and Wishes Three by Jeanne Betancourt
- Dealing with Dragons - the first in a series of chapter books by Patricia Wrede - about a princess who wishes she could learn math, science, and magic instead of etiquette and manners.
- Robot Dreams and Bake Sale both written and illustrated by Sara Varon are both wonderful books about wishes, dreams, and how hard it is sometimes to make them come true. In Robot Dreams, the dreams come don't come true the way they were initially intended; and in Bake Sale, the wishes do come true after hard work and sacrifice. Both are graphic novels geared for young and old kids alike.
- When Wishes Come True by Per-Henrik Gurth. This is a story about a polar bear who is sad because his wishes never seem to come true, and how his mother shows him how some of them do come true (like getting his favorite meal or wishing for snow to fall). This is a great book that shows kids the difference between big and small wishes.
Here are some questions you can discuss with them after, or when reading the books:
- What wishes do they think can be met and what may not be met?
- What might characters do to help make their wishes come true?
- How does it feel when wishes don't come true?
- How do different people/ characters deal with the frustration when their wishes aren't met?
- Talk about how we can help make certain wishes come true (in their lives and in others')
- What are different ways people make wishes and why (i.e., wish bones, fountains, praying)
Make A Wish Foundation
Kids Wish Network
St. Jude Children's Research Hospital
Children's Charities of America
Boys and Girls Clubs of America
Big Brothers Big Sisters of America
Project Night Night - providing sweeter dreams for homeless kids
KaBOOM! Buidling playgrounds, parks, athletic fields in low-income areas
Locks of Love
Save the Children Fund
Ronald McDonald House Charities
New Eyes for the Needy
Sports 4 All Foundation
Toys For Tots
An index of local charities that accept clothing donations
[PLEASE feel free to add some of your favorite charities (not listed) in your comments.]
Wishes are SO important they set goals, raise expectations, and help us cope with life around us. How do you help your kids make and deal with wishes? Please let me know in the comments.
Here is a lovely video clip of third graders responding to a unit around the book, Ava Tree and the Wishes Three by Jeanne Betancourt, and "what kids wish for":
In closing, I would like to wish all of my cyber friends and followers a very joyous holiday season, with wishes for a happy, healthy, successful 2012.
2011 was a good year for me professionally - with my book contract and so many new and wonderful friends and followers. I thank you all for your warm, insightful, friendly comments.
May 2012 be a year of peace, prosperity and wonderful family time for us all!!
I just couldn't pick one version - I love them both.
HAPPY HOLIDAYS and HAPPY WISHES!!!!