Practice Open-mindedness this Holiday Season

Encourage Open-mindedness
Posted on 12/06/2019

5 Ways to Encourage Open-mindedness in our Kids this Holiday Season


 “The mind that opens to a new idea never returns to its original size.”   -- Albert Einstein

Open-Mindedness means being open to new ideas and different ways of doing things.   Here are five ways parents can encourage kids to explore open-mindedness:

 1.  Encourage your kids to try a new food.

When helping kids learn to embrace new things and ideas, give them practice on something easy so that they can build their skills for later when they need to be open-minded in a bigger way.   For younger kids, it may be helpful to point out that even their FAVORITE food was new once, and if they had never tried it they’d never know how much they like it.   Put the emphasis on the trying, not on the result. 


2.  Encourage them to try a new activity.

Talk to your kids about their after school activities.  Which ones are they loving, and why?  Are there new ones they have wanted to try out?  Talking about what we do and don’t like about the things we are familiar with can help us know what to look for in something new.   The more times your kids are able to be new at something and feel successful, the more confidence they will have in the bank for similar times in the future.


3. Start a new tradition.

Ask your kids what different traditions they've heard about from friends.  Ask if they would like to start a NEW tradition in your home: arts and crafts, caroling, volunteering, baking, etc.  My youngest brother had a tradition of going to the dollar store to buy presents for all his (much) older siblings.   We all looked forward to these because each one had a story behind it.  Sit down and brainstorm together.  See what they come up with and pick something.  See if it grows into a new tradition.


4. Talk to them about your differences.

Open-mindedness includes learning that “different” is not automatically “bad.”  A good way to do this is to explore and celebrate the way other people celebrate.  Find out how friends celebrate the same holiday differently.   What's the same?  What's different?

To take it further, go on an internet hunt together to learn about a holiday your family does NOT celebrate.  Find out what it’s about and where it came from.  Learn what food is part of it, what games.  Ask your kids if they know anybody who celebrates that holiday.  Encourage your kids to ask their friends questions.  


5.  Give your kids a Winter Break Challenge

Help your kids pick a challenge over winter break.   Help them identify what they want to do, set a couple goals about it, and then encourage them as they work to achieve it.  Here are a couple ideas.


  • Try one new food every day for two weeks. 
  • Read a book (or books) over the break.
  • Give up (some) screen time.
  • Volunteer somewhere.
  • Practice for a sport, club, or musical instrument they already do.  
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