Worried about having your kids home for a week? Have no fear! Our 5 Christmas Survival Tips will ensure your kids stay on track and enjoy the time off.
Ready for winter break? Worried the most wonderful week of the year may have you calling for the big yellow bus to arrive several days early? For those who celebrate Christmas, some kids will, indeed, see how far they can push Santa to grab for coal instead of candy. Have no fear! There are things you can do now to ensure your kids stay on track during the long break, and enjoy the time off.
Here are five things to make winter break week a success:
1. Indulge the special interests
Has your child been begging you for a Star Wars marathon? Or spending an entire day researching the history of Legos? For those of us who have kids with special interests, providing them time to pursue it – uninterrupted – can be a gift, in and of itself. Think about it for a moment. Do you have a laundry list of cooking, wrapping and cleaning to do before the big day arrives? Why not let him have a day to indulge his special interest? It’s a win-win!
2. Let your children take turns planning the main meal of the day
Assign each child a day of the week, and have him plan the meal. Depending on your child’s age and other developmental concerns, this can involve anything from merely suggesting “pasta night”, to having him come up with a grocery list, help in food prep, set up and clean up. Kids love to be in charge of dinner! (And, of course, feel free to set guidelines, such as the meal is to be made at home and must include a vegetable, protein, starch, etc.)
3. Respect the concept of the schedule
One of the biggest factors that contributes to discord during school breaks is a lack of schedule. It’s ironic, as many of us long to be away from alarm clocks, but keeping some sort of schedule is important, especially if there are autism spectrum folks or other special needs concerns in the house.
For instance, keeping meals at regular intervals helps keep the crankies at bay. For some families, sleeping until noon and going to bed after midnight is a luxury worth waiting for. However, for many families, especially those with young children, keeping bedtime (and wake time) consistent is key to keeping peace in the house.
4. If you have company, provide your child with their own space they can retreat to
…but be clear that your child understands she is expected to interact with Aunt Betty, and holing up all day long isn’t what this special space is all about. Set clear rules as to what is expected. If you are a reader of mine, you’ve heard this one before. Taking a short break for some quiet time truly can make all the difference in the world. (Psst… I’m not just talking about the kids, either.)
5. Let your kid be… a kid!
Remember what it was like when you were younger? We all express excitement and anticipation in different ways. For some of us, that means talking mom’s ear off while she’s trying to get dinner on the table. For others, it’s singing in the car as loud as humanly possible, or dancing like nobody’s watching – anything to get the extra energy out of our systems. After all, Santa IS coming, and for a child, that’s an awful lot of excitement to try and contain! Give them a little more “rope” than normal and enjoy this time with them. Why not join in all the excitement?! Childhood does, indeed, fly by. Trust me.
There are other ideas, too, such as helping with cookies, wrapping (who doesn’t love to receive a gift wrapped up by a six year old?), and setting aside family time each day. What strategies have worked for you and your family? We’d love to hear them!
Have a Happy!