My preschooler was playing with paint (I know, paint + preschoolers = a recipe for a mess) when she smeared the blue all over her palms and pressed down on a nearby paper. She wanted to create a letter to her grandmother. As we worked together to get the greeting card just right, we talked about the many reasons we love her grandmother: she brings her fruit snacks, takes her to the playground and reads books for her. We were celebrating this strong woman who has played such an essential part in my daughter’s circle of care.
Whether grandmothers, aunts, babysitters, teachers, step-moms, health care workers, coaches, or others, our children have a network of women in their life who provide support, guidance and set examples. And while we might not be able to see them in person to give a hug, we can still find ways to stay connected and acknowledge the unique role they play.
Ways to Celebrate Women Year-Round
March is Women’s History Month, an annual celebration of women’s contributions to our shared, collective history. Every year on March 8th, the world honors women and girls’ achievements and struggles through International Women’s Day. There are so many ways we can honor the women in our lives and learn about other strong female role models during these holidays and beyond.
Talk Together. Spend some time together to talk about the women in their lives. Identify their strengths and how they support your child. Jump on a video call with these individuals to ask questions, tell stories, or share an afternoon storytime snack. Giving time for our little ones to connect with these women — even remotely — can help build strong bonds between them.
Read. Add some books to your family library with strong female characters, then talk about how the characters are similar or different to the women in their lives.
- You might try one found on PBS KIDS’ list of "Children’s Book About Amazing Women," which includes historical figures like Rosa Parks, Odetta, Irena Sendler.
- “Abuela’s Story Quilt” and “Mommy, Mami, Mama, Mom” are free e-books available in English and Spanish from Sesame Street.
- Remember, you can always borrow free books through the Los Angeles Public Library or read e-books through their online book collection called Overdrive or on your phone with their Libby app.
Watch. Enjoy TV series featuring women and young girls in many roles. Watch videos about the accomplishments and struggles faced by women in our world.
- Learn about International Women’s Day with this All About the Holidays video clip from PBS.
- Select shows and apps that model self-confidence, problem-solving skills, and curiosity in girls. You might consider the PBS KIDS series “WordGirl,” “Molly of Denali,” “Peg + Cat,” and “Elinor Wonders Why.”
- Play the apps, games and watch the videos for these shows while talking about self-empowerment and role models.
Make. High fives are a way to maintain the strong bonds between our children and the women in their lives. In times of social distancing, the high five craft below can be an alternative way for kids to express their appreciation for those relationships. And, unlike my daughter's messy hand-print experience, this activity is easy to clean up!
High Five Craft: Step-By-Step Instructions
1. Using colored construction paper and a marker, trace your child’s hands.
2. Let your little one practice independently with kid-friendly scissors or assist in cutting the hand tracing lines.
3. Help your child write a personal message. For example, “Sending a high five to you, _____!” As you write the notes, talk about the qualities and strengths of this woman. Talk about a time they received a high-five and how it made them feel, and what it means to encourage someone. Talk about all the women who are a part of your child’s circle of care.
4. Place the “High Five Hand” in a stamped envelope, send it along, or snap a picture on your phone and email or text the virtual high five.