The holidays are an exciting time for everyone, but this time of year is particularly special for small children. With proper planning and a little creativity, you can ensure that the holiday season is enjoyable and low stress for your entire family.
Creating Family Traditions
Family traditions, such as seeing a particular play during the season or preparing special meals, can be fun for the whole family. Traditions not only encourage good values, but they give your child something to look forward to when she knows Christmas is coming. Traditions also offer a fun way for young children to learn.
Writing Christmas lists and letters to Santa Claus encourage young children to develop both fine motor and writing skills. Creating holiday crafts and decorations also helps with early childhood development without having to be a chore for young children.
Advent calendars are a great way to build up excitement for Christmas. They are also an excellent pre-school learning activity for small children just discovering the days of the week or numbers. Each day in the month of December, children open up small openings in the calendar to reveal a small toy or treat. They are often stylized after popular cartoon characters, allowing your child to build up a small collection of toys that make a set.
Scheduling Special Activities
With all of the special events planned around the holiday season, your child may not be the only one in need of an afternoon nap. It is important to make a schedule and stick with it as best you can. Budget your time evenly between family friendly activities and things like cooking meals and shopping for family and friends.
It may be tempting to bring your child along for most shopping trips, but try to avoid taking them on daylong outings. Instead, choose a specific purchase decisions you would like to involve your child in, such as purchasing a gift for a grandparent. This allows them to be part of the fun, but helps you avoid the fatigue that affects many small children on big shopping trips.
Helping Your Child Avoid Overstimulation
Overstimulation does not have to inevitable. Instead of planning many events rapid-fire throughout the season, carve out time for a few family traditions and parties only. If your family has many commitments, such as work related Christmas parties, find a babysitter or enlist the help of a grandparent. Avoid throwing your child off their sleep schedule as much as possible. This makes the transition from the holiday season back to regular bedtimes easier for everyone.
Christmas Eve and the Big Day
Christmas Eve will be the biggest day of excitement for the entire family. Allowing your child to open one gift on Christmas Eve will not only give them a taste of what is to come the following morning, but also help calm some curious little minds.
After all of the presents have been opened, it’s a great idea to involve your child in cleaning up the giant mess of boxes and wrapping paper your living room has no doubt become. The best way to encourage your child to help is by turning cleaning up into part of the fun. Make it a race to see who can clean up the most trash.
About the guest author: Briana Kelly has over 5 years experience writing content in the area of child development. She regularly writes on behalf of www.giraffe.ie , a childcare provider based in Dublin, Ireland.