Before leaving for work on week-day mornings, my spouse quietly practices a daily family routine. He kisses our sleeping son on the forehead and says “I love you. Make today a green day.” In our child’s elementary classroom, colors are used for a daily behavior chart. Green means “ready to learn” and it is the target goal for every student, every school day.
With the public health goal of flattening the curve, many changes have taken place for all Ohioans, in a very short period of time. In addition to following the recommendations of public health experts, I also want to show my son that no matter our age, we can always be “ready to learn”. The American Academy of Pediatrics encourages families to set “effective routines, which should achieve a happy compromise between the disorder and confusion that can occur without them and the rigidity and boredom that can come with too much structure and regimentation, where children are given no choice and little flexibility.” It is not easy but it is a worthwhile goal.
While my child is not attending school for a while, we keep the goal to make today a “green day” in regards to positive behavior. In addition to expecting our child to behave, it’s also important that the adults in our home behave, especially in times of uncertainty. The American Psychology Association reminds, “ parents who cope with stress in healthy ways can not only promote better adjustment and happiness for themselves, but also promote the formation of critically important habits and skills in children”.
Green is also a timely color because of two events on the calendar this week. We’re going to use the theme of green and the following three tips from Helping Young Children Through Stressful Times to frame our week:
- Spend time together. Interact with your children. Share your heritage, thoughts, values, and experiences.
- Allow your children to help you when appropriate. Be prepared for the task to take longer.
- Remember the value of laughter.
On St. Patrick’s Day we will be at home spending time together. We will sing a few songs, tell tall tales about Ireland including the shenanigans of leprechauns and have some laughs at the silliness. Just for good measure, and a simple change to our daily dinner table, we’ll use a green tablecloth and cups. Maybe we will invite my son’s green and spring-related stuffed animals to join us.
An old tradition we will practice this week is planting peas on (or around) St. Patrick’s Day. The first day of spring comes early this year on Thursday, March 19, 2020. Pea seeds don’t mind cold soil temperatures but it is early for many other vegetable seeds and plants to weather the early spring outdoors. For more information about growing a successful 2020 garden, contact your local extension office or email questions to the state “ask a master gardener volunteer” online hotline.
We’re going green this week! What are your plans to celebrate spring 2020?