Kwanzaa for Children

December 22, 2011

Inasmuch as Kwanzaa is a holiday which stresses and reinforces family bonding and attachment as well as child and adult development, we thought it prudent and instructive to discuss ways to make the Kwanzaa celebration for children rewarding and memorable.

First, children of all ages should help to set-up the Kwanzaa Set. This is instructive for children in learning experientially the meaning and values of the Kwanzaa symbols and principles. This is an opportunity for parents or caregivers to explain the meaning, symbols, and principles of Kwanzaa, and then in turn, have children explain in their own words their thoughts on Kwanzaa.

Second, have children participate in planning the daily Kwanzaa activities (See Kwanzaa DVD). This will ensure that they have a vested interest in the celebration. Make sure, however, that the planned activities are family-centered.

Third, have children plan the meals for each day of Kwanzaa. As discussed in the Kwanzaa DVD, there are no set, prescribed or mandated foods for Kwanzaa. Family may eat out or prepare meals at home.

Fourth, and most important, each day of Kwanzaa spend time praising children for their efforts and practice of the 7 Principle of Kwanzaa. Give children credit for trying. Link their efforts to the instructive lessons of the Kwanzaa candle color scheme. So that the lesson we want to generalize is that effort, hard work, and stick-to-it-ness (red candle) will lead to achieved success.

Fifth, as instructed in our Kwanzaa DVD, link gift giving with Kwanzaa commitments. Remember to take a strength-based approach and concentrate on what has been achieved (a little progress or success is better than none). Again, lavish praise on children for their accomplishments. Too, discuss how their accomplishments helped to strengthen the family.

Sixth, use narrative, story-telling, or to highlight your family discussion or to introduce a symbol or principle. For example, if a child experienced ups and downs with their commitments, you might start with the African proverb: To stumble is not to fall, but to go forward faster.” Or, select a short story or even a vignette from a movie or TV program to discuss or highlight your point.

Finally, make the celebration enjoyable and do special activities (this does not have to be expensive). The Kwanzaa celebration is joyous occasion where we appreciate each other for who we are and not for what we have.

Happy Kwanzaa

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