Every month there is lots to celebrate. Both official holidays and non provide great inspiration for creative family and individual activities. April is National Humor Month, National Pecan Month, Lawn and Garden Month, Records and Information Management Month, and Stress Awareness Month.
The great thing about “month” celebrations are they are not tied to a specific day, activities can be sprinkled throughout and celebrated whenever you like. It gives you the chance to celebrate and make everyday special.
National Humor Month
Life is better with a little laughter. Laughing reduces stress, relives tension, and just feels good. There are many different ways you can bring more humor into your life. If you have one nearby, visit a family-oriented comedy or theater sports show. Check out some books of jokes from the library and share them over supper or work with your kids to create their own comedy routine. There’s many forms of humor, so why not explore it as a family?
National Pecan Month
National Pecan month is a great excuse to get the kids in the kitchen and help you bake or cook. If possible, find some pecans in the shell and crack them with your kids while you lean about the history of the pecan and it’s common uses. Chopped toasted pecans can be added to your favorite muffin, cookie, or pancake recipe. They make a tasty, crunchy additions to salads and go particularly well with spinach and apple. For breakfast, I love steel-cut oats sprinkled with a little brown sugar (or maple syrup!) and chopped toasted pecans.
Lawn and Garden Month –
Depending on where you live, your garden and yard may be set to bloom – or it might still covered in snow, like ours. If you have the chance and the weather is nice, take a stroll through your neighborhood looking for unique and interesting gardens. See if there are any ideas you would like to incorporate into your garden. This is a great chance for some fresh air and exercise! Do you now anyone who really loves to garden? Invite them over – for a garden-themed tea perhaps? Ask them all about their passion. They would be happy to share and you might learn something new. Look into garden related community events in your area. There may be garden tours, spring teas, workshops or even community gardens you can get involved in.
If you live somewhere as cold as I do, you can still get inspired by Lawn and Garden month. Plan (and plant) your garden inside. Are there any special flowers or vegetables your child would like to grow? Many of these can be started inside so they’re strong and healthy by the time it’s warm enough outside. Some plants take quite a while for their seeds to germinate, so now is the time to research and plan, especially if you only have a short growing season to take advantage of.
No matter where you live, it’s possible to grow an indoor herb garden. If you live in a more remote (and cold) community, you may not have access to fresh vegetables year-round. In this case, an herb garden is a great way to bring a little flavor, nutrition, and pizazz to your meals. It is also great fun to be able to be involved in the entire process, from planting to growing to harvesting to cooking with the fruits (or herbs) of your labor.
Records and Information Management Month
At first glance this may be a strange one to celebrate with your kids, but learning to make records and keep all that information managed is an important life skill that everyone needs to know, especially in our age of information overload.
What kinds of records do you keep? There are personal records for tracking goals and to-do lists, records for reference, records to make your life easier like budgets or price books for comparison shopping, or simply a file with important papers in them. Which papers qualify as important? These are all things a teenager or young adult need to know, but they generally won’t learn it in school so they are left to “figure it out” on their own.
Use Records and Information Management Month as the opportunity to show your teen what sort of things they need to keep track of and how to keep the information organized. This is also a great time to organize your family’s important documents if you have fallen behind. Good records can save you time and money and create opportunities.
For example, if your teen is looking at applying to collage, what types of records do they need for their applications? Do they have a list of all their extra-curricular activities? Do they have any reference letters from teachers or other important documents such as awards and transcripts that will impress the admissions boards? Wouldn’t it be great if this was all in one place and accessible within a moment’s notice? You can help you teen start a filing system for their own personal documents and records and get them into the habit of keeping them up-to date.
For younger children you can start early, getting them into the habit of creating their own records and keeping track of information that is important to them. Get them their own folio or portable filing case and allow them to decorate it however they like. Stickers are good for this. Help them create categories for their records based on their lives. Even young children get an amazing amount of paper. It might be art projects, certificates, ribbons, or letters from school. It could simply be things they want to learn more about. Customize the categories to your child; they will change and need updating as your children grow and get more involved in different activities. Even if it’s just a few categories at first, starting early is a great way to build the habit of managing paperwork and records. This will also make life easier for the parents if important documents (such as school newsletters or notices about upcoming special dates) have an organized home. You could set up places for personal documents and family documents that need attention or further action from you.
Stress Awareness Month
April is also stress awareness month. Stress is highly toxic and it is important to be aware of the mounting stress we are all under – even our kids! Please refer to my post on “Helping Kids Deal with Stress”
How will you be celebrating April this year with your family?