Gifts Aren’t The Focus

Getting presents is a high point of the holidays for any kid, but they shouldn’t be the only focus. As adults we know that giving presents can be just as rewarding as getting them, and we shouldn’t wait to teach that lesson to our children.

Even when kids are too young to buy a present, they can still make one, or help you pick out something. Some of my best holiday memories are of helping my father look for the perfect gift for Mom, or combing the mall to look for presents with my siblings as we got older. Volunteering, participating in a local toy drive, or giving each of your kids a little money to give to a charity of their choice are all great ideas for getting children in a more generous mood.

Also, remember that the best gifts that you give your children probably won’t be the material ones. Taking time for the whole family to get together to play a game, watch a movie, or decorate sugar cookies—these are the things that kids remember as they get older.

Let them help out

There’s a lot of extra work to do around the holidays — putting up decorations, cooking big dinners, throwing parties. The Martha Stewart in all of us can take over, but it’s important to take a step back and make sure our kids are included, too.

Children can help set the table, decorate the house, and wrap presents. If they’re too young to wrap, they can help by holding down the paper or getting the tape ready — there’s always something kids can do. And at holiday time, the preparations are often as fun and as meaningful as the end product. Plus, this way kids won’t feel left out — or be glued to the iPad for hours.

Plan fun activities & pick up new skills

Connect with your child and their hobbies. Seek out fun activities that they’d like to do, such as a cooking or baking session, a dance workout, board games night, or even venturing out and exploring new activities. Doing activities with your child is also a great way to bond and spend quality time together.

If your child has always wanted to pick up something new, such as learning an instrument or going for dance classes, it’s the perfect opportunity to do so.

Keep routines

We love the holidays because they give us a break from the everyday, but that can also make them stressful, especially for kids who find routine comforting. Try to keep some things constant. Kids still need snack time, they still need special attention from you, and they still need a chance to unwind before bedtime.

At family gatherings when you notice the kids are “getting antsy, you should try and give them their baths, get them into pajamas, and turn on a movie. We know when they need to wind down, and no one judges us for excusing ourselves from the table to do these things.

Let them help out around the house

With school out of the way, it is the best time to take a step back and have your child take over some household chores. Allowing your child to help out around the house can boost their self-esteem and sense of responsibility, and also encourage them to be more independent.

It may be challenging to get your child to help around the house at first, but there are ways to overcome that. For example, you could consider incorporating a reward system. For every completion of a task, your child could receive a reward of choice, such as more allowance or screen time. Never implement chores as a punishment as you want your child to understand that helping around the house is a shared responsibility, not a consequence.

Give back to society

Volunteering as a family is an effective way to teach children empathy, an essential skill that helps us relate to others, build healthy and happy relationships with family and friends, and collaborate with others at work or school.

When you do volunteer work as a family, you are setting a good example for your child by showing them what it means to be charitable and compassionate. Volunteering also cultivates sensitivity in your child and teaches them to be more aware of others’ emotions.

Remember they are kids

Some holiday traditions depend on kids being on their best behavior: lengthy services, parties with lots of strangers, elaborate meals that may not appeal to picky eaters. Try to keep those to a minimum and customize festivities for your kids’ frustration level. Don’t schedule more than one demanding event in a day, and make sure to include physical activity and plenty of downtime. Your kids will be grateful — and so will you.

At Precious Memories Preschool of Sandy Hollow PreSchool of Sandy Hollow, we offer a special place for children to not only grow and develop along the way, but a place for them to CELEBRATE each and every step. If you are interested in enrolling your child in our program please fill out the form on this page or call us at 860.572.9958