In our Dolphin Kids classes, we often talk about the power of gratitude and the importance of expressing gratitude to people we care about. One activity I always love guiding children through is writing a letter of gratitude to someone they appreciate. We brainstorm all of the ways this special person has made a positive impact in our lives. We take a mindful moment to think about all of the actions this person has taken to make us feel happy, safe, and loved.
What person do you think most children dedicate their letter of gratitude to? Nine times out of ten, it’s written for their mom.
And, with good reason! I feel my own sense of immense gratitude for my mother. She’s been such an inspiration in my life, and I’ve learned so many invaluable lessons that have influenced who I am today by listening to her.
Mothers often play a significant role in every aspect of their children’s social-emotional growth. In celebration of Mother’s Day, we want to remind all mothers that we’re grateful for you and the resilience, innovation, and adaptability you show us every day.
“I’m grateful for my mom’s hugs, especially when I’m feeling sad.” – 7-year-old child from Dolphin Kids program
In your children’s eyes, you’re an extraordinary superhero. Yet, mothers carry the burden of the responsibility of caregiving, which includes the struggle of dealing with expectations from themselves and others. Children do not need to grow up in a “perfect” environment, rather they need to experience, understand and learn from how you adapt to problems and deal with your struggles too.
Your resilience shines in your ability to make mistakes and own up to your imperfections with your children. These become memorable moments for your kids, ones they can laugh about and learn from.
“I love when my mom plays games with me. She is so creative!” – 8-year-old child from Dolphin Kids program
Many mothers have experienced a profound shift in their regular routine over the past two months. Moms are juggling work, homeschool, and finding innovative ways for their children to stay engaged and socially connected to family and friends.
Since your child was a tiny baby, you’ve known intuitively which cries meant it was bottle time and which cries meant it was time for a nappy change. You knew how to position your arm and when to quiet down your voice, without even consciously doing it. A mothers ability to be innovative is deeply connected to their intuition.
A mother’s sense of innovation doesn’t always need to come in the form of a creative product or idea, but it’s intuitively knowing what your children need. It is also giving your children the space to explore their creativity in a safe and nurturing environment. A mother’s innovation can be seen in the form of play, exploration, and providing your child with the opportunities for them to develop their sense of curiosity and wonder about the world.
Engaging in play and innovation with your children is one of the aspects they always tell me about. Even though you may not always find your ideas innovative, your kids do, and they absolutely love playing with you!
“I am grateful for my mom teaching me new things!” – 9-year-old from Dolphin Kids program
Research has shown that a mother’s executive functioning (EF), e.g., short-term memory, self-control, and cognitive flexibility contribute to their child’s development of EF. For example, when a child shows an undesirable behaviour, a mother has to use her EF skills to focus on relevant information, control her response in the presence of her own stress, plan and act as necessary according to situational demands. Rather than having negative or hasty reactions, she has to analyze the various situations through logic and emotions to plan and make decisions.
Mothers are constantly adapting and navigating situations with their children. I often hear children tell me, “My mom helped me with…” or “I’m grateful that my mom knows how to…” The skills you’re demonstrating to your child are everlasting. Role-modelling your ability to adapt, change, and keep a positive mindset despite setbacks is helping your child learn the importance of adaptability.
“My mom makes me feel happy!” – 7-year-old from Dolphin Kids program
Moms, your children are very grateful for you and all of the amazing life lessons you’re instilling in them. I encourage you to write a letter of gratitude with your children. You’ll end up sharing personal stories, memorable moments, and funny memories that you’ve made together. It will release so many positive neurochemicals in your brains, that you can’t help but feel happy, safe, and loved.
Wishing you all a wonderful Mother’s Day!