The holiday season is upon us again (how does that happen?)! It's easy to get caught up in the chaos of shopping and getting our homes ready for special visitors. This time of year can be very stressful, even more so for children. Cultural and religious celebrations, as well as holiday dinners and parties, can become overwhelming for little ones. During this time of year, we should remember to get the kids involved during the holidays and in holiday planing. Teaching your children what to expect and how to behave in each situation will help things run smoothly. When children play an integral part in the preparations for a special get-together, they'll gain the pride that results in seeing a job well done, and it will encourage more patience and better behavior (which makes everyone happy!).
Holidays are rich in family traditions
The holiday season offers many opportunities for children to learn more about, as well as, participate in family traditions. Exploring traditions works toward enriching childhood memories and creating meaningful and heartfelt experiences. By sharing in long standing family traditions children learn about themselves and their families.
Planning and Decorating
Get your children involved in preparing for family dinners and holiday parties by letting them help you decorate for them. Along with the traditional holiday decorations of a Christmas tree or a Menorah, let your children craft homemade place cards and napkin rings for the table. Bring your children to pick out a few bunches of fresh flowers from the local florist. Have them fill vases around your home and on the dinner table. Children of all ages and stages can get involved in preparing the home for the holidays.
Plan the menu together (and let them help cook, too)
Children love helping in the kitchen. From loading the dishwasher to preparing a meal, children take great pride in their work when it comes to meal preparation. Even the youngest child can help wash potatoes or clean the counters.
Spend some time looking through recipe books together. As you sift through your recipe box (or online), talk about the different foods you helped your parents prepare when you were a child. Plan an evening to bake special treats or decorate a gingerbread house together.
Discuss what ways they can help out in the kitchen. Let an older child pick a dessert or side dish to prepare on their own, or with just a little help from you. Getting your children involved in the kitchen will give them a better appreciation of what goes into preparing a meal. With this understanding, your child may be more apt to try those Brussels sprouts at Aunt Edna's house this year.
In the rush of the holiday season, don't forget to create your own new, personal, and lasting family traditions.
Talk about what's expected
Holiday parties both at home and away typically involve seeing extended family members your children may not usually see on a regular basis. They may even be meeting certain relatives and family friends for the first time. Prepare your children for this beforehand. Outline who you'll be seeing at the party, how they're related and the manner in which they should address them.
Holiday parties often involve the exchange of presents. Teach your children to accept all gifts with gratitude, even those gifts they may not like as much. Remind them to send thank you notes for all gifts received during the holiday season.
Planning ahead will help reduce everyone's stress levels during the holiday season. Involving your children in the planning process will not only prevent meltdowns, but they'll gain a sense of pride and accomplishment. And of course, enjoy the holidays that much more! Happy Holidays!
How do you involved your children in holiday planning? We'd love to hear your ideas.
About our Guest Contributor:
This piece (our first guest blog post!) was written by Jennifer S., who runs and operates www.beyondthecrib.com. Jennifer had this great idea for how to get the kiddos involved in the holiday prep and we were thought it was a perfect topic. If you're looking for more great ideas for kids activities, toys and more, be sure to stop by her blog or better-yet, subscribe to it! Let's hear it for Jennifer - our first Guest Blogger :)
Image courtesy of scbailey