Jaquelyn Muller is a child literacy advocate and author of children’s books I Love You 5 Lollipops and Elizabeth Rose on Parade.
Yippee, it's Mother's Day this weekend! Sleep in, tick! Breakfast in bed, tick! And those gorgeous homemade cards, notes and gifts, tick-a-doodledoo.
I am an absolute sucker for heartfelt thoughts wrapped up in notes, cards, tissue paper flowers and origami chatterboxes. It is just so beautiful and I treasure the looks on my girls' faces each year when they hand them over from glue-ridden hands.
Listen to Jaquelyn on Kinderling Conversation:
These homemade masterpieces are not only a rite of passage for mothers and their offspring, but they are valuable literacy opportunities that we don't even realise.
The importance of special occasions like Mother's Day in assisting children to draw out their emotions and give them opportunities to put feelings into words cannot be undersold. This could be for a mum, grandmother, close relative or female guardian in a child's life. It helps children recognise that sometimes they may not be able to say how they feel, but they can write their emotions down. It shows them the impact written words can have on someone and how they can be treasured. Writing down personal thoughts and emotions develop a sense of reflection and emotional intelligence.
Homemade Mother's Day gifts are a time-honoured tradition and fun to make. To get them started, children might need cues or questions posed, to draw out what they want to say. This will in turn help them work out what they want to make. Question prompts from a supervising adult will kick start the imagination (warning: these questions may also be a source of immense horror):
- What is it that Mum does that makes you laugh?
- What do you and Mum love to do together?
- What does Mum do to make you feel better when you are sad?
- Is there something about Mum that is different from all the other mums (loaded question alert)?
Here is my gift suggestion list, but after working on your question prompts I am sure your kids will come up with their own ideas for Mother's Day:
- A jar of 'Five things I love about you' - Small scrolls rolled up inside a jar with reasons why your child loves their mum. It's like a lucky dip. I have one on my desk given to me by my 11-year-old and I love pulling a random one out every so often.
- Some children who have difficulty expressing themselves may like to find a favourite quote from a book that reflects how they feel. Write it out and decorate it and pop it in a frame. For example, 'I love you to the moon and back' or my personal favourite 'I Love You 5 Lollipops'.
- Create a scavenger hunt with notes about what we love or admire in Mum and hide them around the house - this a great activity for really young kids with assistance from the other parent as it adds a hide and seek element. Also good for kids who aren't overly crafty.
- A simple homemade card is always a great idea but encourage the child to write more than just 'Dear Mum, Happy Mother's Day, Love _____'. Give them cues (like the questions above) to expand their thoughts.
- A song, poem or play for kids who love performing or who play an instrument. Their creation will come from writing down their thoughts and developing a song or script.
- A voucher book made up of things that the kids will give or do for their mum. E.g. A voucher for 10 kisses or hugs, a head massage, or making a cup of tea. They need to think about what their mum really enjoys or appreciates. This may also require some realistic assistance from another carer; otherwise you could be up for a new Maserati or a pair of Manolos!
Mothers; you may discover some aspects of yourself that you weren't necessarily ready to hear but it will be delivered from those who love you most. Have a beautiful Mother's Day - we all deserve it.
See more of Jaquelyn’s parent tips and resources at www.jmullerbooks.com.
Kids, record a Mother Day's radio message for mum
Leave your Mum a special message and we’ll play it on the radio in the week leading up to Sunday May 13.
Helping kids to plan and write a story
Give your little writers confidence in their own abilities to tell a story.
Mums tell us what they really want for Mother's Day
Forget flowers and chocolates, this is what's really on mums' wishlists this Sunday.
10 tips to help kids learn to read
How to get your child to fall in love with reading.
Play Mother's Day bingo with us
Simply cross off these popular Mum-isms off and get the day off!
Extending books into creating art
Children’s book author Jaquelyn Muller explains ‘art extension’ and what you need in your art kit to do it all at home.
The best books for babies and toddlers
Some great ideas for the next time you visit the library!
An author’s guide to getting kids into books
Just in time for Book Week 2018, Jaquelyn Muller shares her ideas for keeping little ones glued to the page instead of the screen.