hurricane sandy

Where's the thanks? Teach your kids about gratitude this Thanksgiving

With Thanksgiving just around the corner and thousands of families still without power and heat in hurricane Sandy’s wake, it seems like the right time to focus on gratitude at home. Have you ever noticed that kids are not inherently grateful? We have to teach them to say thank you, not to grimace when they get a gift that isn’t exactly what they wanted, and to appreciate the things they do have, all the while trying to curb what can seem like an endless chorus of “I want.”

Many children who lost power in their homes became more aware of how fortunate they are to have creature comforts when those disappeared for a week – they learned that lights, hot baths, TV and phones are actually luxuries!  We've seen a lot of children getting involved in the relief effort too, whether donating clothes or toys at their preschool or going out to help with their parents. But as the hurricane and its aftermath is something we hope not to recreate to teach this lesson, how can we help our toddlers and kids be more thankful each day?

If you are like me, you want your kids to appreciate all the good things in their lives, and to feel a true sense of empathy for kids who don’t have as much as they do. This empathy is what will later drive them to volunteer, donate, identify with those in other countries and cultures, and inspire them to leave the world a better place than they found it.

In my own hectic life as a New York working mother, I have tried to integrate a new simple practice into our family’s routine to encourage thankful thinking. About once every two or three days, we go around the table (or the car, or wherever we might be) and each of us says three things for which we are feeling grateful.

It takes about 5 minutes, but done repeatedly it really does seem to increase gratitude and even joy, and it's something that even preschoolers can participate in. Here are some real life examples of the kinds of things my kids have said since we started this a few weeks ago:

Adrian (four years old)

-       I am grateful that daddy took me out to play soccer this morning

-       I am grateful that Emmett is the best big brother

-       I am grateful that mommy made my favorite macaroni and cheese

Emmett (eight years old)

-       I am grateful that we are going to see a movie today

-       I am grateful that Adrian got better (he had been sick until the day before)

-       I am grateful that we won our soccer game today

They love the opportunity to have everyone listen quietly to what they have to say, and as they can see it’s important to my husband and me, they take it seriously and put a lot of thought into it. My husband and I love hearing them focus on what is good in their lives, since we feel we spend a lot of time hearing about what they want/need/wish they had, especially with all those Toys R Us circulars arriving in the newspaper!

Sometimes my husband or I will try to remind the kids that they enjoy a lot of privileges that other kids might not:

-       I am grateful that when Adrian had 102 fever on Friday, we were able to take him to the doctor right away to find out what was wrong. In some countries, people have to go miles to find a doctor and we have one just 10 blocks away.

In my experience, kids have a hard time grasping how fortunate they are and it may be something they’ll only realize in retrospect. In the meantime though, we can help them heighten their sense of thankfulness and create a little more peace and harmony in our homes at the same time. Happy Thanksgiving everyone. What are you doing to teach your kids about gratitude this season?

P.S. Many thanks to Sarah Napthali whose book “Becoming Mindful Parents: Buddhism for Mothers of Young Children” inspired this practice.

Little Pim Sandy Update

Dear Friends,We're pleased to announce that Little Pim is back up and running in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.  We were all lucky enough to get through the storm with minimum disruption. Although the office was without power for a while, we're grateful that our staff, friends and colleagues are safe.

On our first day back in the office though, our thoughts go out to all those who have not been so fortune. To those who have lost their homes, their businesses, and even their lives - to people for whom getting back to normal will take considerably longer than a week.

We'd like to thank everyone for their patience and their support over the last week.


The Little Pim Team

A Message from Little Pim after Hurricane Sandy

Dear Friends of Little Pim,We wanted to let you know that we made it through the storm ok, and the office has not been damaged. Our site is still up, and our warehouse is shipping product, operating off a generator, to parts of the country not affected by Sandy. We are New Yorkers! It takes more than a little wind and surge to ruffle our feathers, but this WAS and is, a big one. My family was evacuated from our apt in Battery Park City and we just returned yesterday after two days, happy to find minimal neighborhood damage despite the 14 foot waves that washed over our streets. We are now one of the only neighborhoods below 34th street with power, and feel very lucky to have it.

Thank you for your support and patience as we try to get back to work this week. The MTA is still closed, and 4 of our 7 staffers have no power. The office (on 17th street) has no power and will not re-open until it does. Those of us who have electricity and Internet at home are working from home when we have Internet access, which is intermittent. Please excuse us if we don't answer emails in a timely way, as we are juggling whichever business issues are most pressing.

We hope you and your families and friends in the metropolitan area were out of harm's way and our hearts go out to the many families with young children who are still caught up in the aftermath of Sandy, with no power and much uncertainty about the days to come.

Thank you for being part of our extended Little Pim family. And Happy Halloween. We will all make sure our kids still have a wonderful Halloween and will remember this as,  "that Halloween", when everything was upside down. And then, life goes on. C'est la vie. Please read my P.S. for how you can help.


Julia Pimsleur Levine

p.s. We will suffer a serious loss of income in the days and weeks following the hurricane, as will millions of local businesses. For small businesses like ours this can have a huge and lasting impact. As you probably know, New York and its environs comprise one of our largest markets and sales may seriously drop off as people focus on recovery. If you have friends far from the hurricane's path, please encourage them to buy Little Pim on our site as a gift for a child under six this year. Thank you, every gift set counts!  Use HALLOPIM for 15% off.