How should I tell my kids about the warming world?
The climate crisis brings parents a new challenge. How best to prepare kids for changes that will define the world they will live in as adults? How to honestly explain the realities, but not overwhelm them?
Child psychiatrists and psychologists have pondered this new part of parenting. What's most important is that kids know that their family is a part of the solution. Working with others in a supportive community, too, helps gives children the confidence to rise to this challenge.
Santa Soaked readings provide a positive framework to introduce kids to climate issues. When is it age-appropriate to do this? It's really up to parents. However, it seems the best time is when kids begin to lose their belief in Santa. That's at about age 8. Here, as this magical figure of early childhood fades, his character takes on new, realistic dimensions. Santa tells his story of climate awareness, what that's done to him, and what he's doing about it. That starts the conversation as family and friends gather to share what's on their wish list for a better, brighter future. It is a place to share ideas, grow community, and organize to work on climate solutions together.
The structure of the storytelling workshops is simple (see sidebar). It can be adapted to whatever works best for your community. There are just a few "musts": These must be family-friendly and completely commerce-free. They must be open to all with a desire to deal with the climate crisis. They must be offered freely as a gift, consistent with the Santa Soaked vision of uncommercialized holidays. There's a few "shoulds," too: They should be easy to organize and operate, as well as inexpensive to run. Most anyone should be able to do this. Just add friends & family!
The gatherings combine a children's book reading with another holiday tradition - telling Santa what's on your wish list! Sessions run an hour and break down into a few basic sections:
That's it in broad outline. Of course, always be open to comments and suggestions as to how to make this serve the local community better. This is one of Santa's greatest gifts. These gatherings are yours and are to serve your needs.