(Written with Marjorie Wild)
Happy Holidays from all of us at ECS!
We hope you are able to spend time with family and friends. Our hearts go out to those who are experiencing the loss of loved ones - we pray that you will be comforted.
Are you finding the time and energy to shower your children with love, despite the hustle and bustle of the season? Perhaps you're trying to sprinkle in a few opportunities for fun and learning, too! Check our our ideas - and comment with yours as well.
Here are some simple, kid-friendly play ideas to add some Christmas or other holiday fun - and learning! - into busy tasks and traditions. In parentheses are just some of the skills developed by children through play and activity.
The best holiday memories are made through experiences that help us connect with the people in our lives. Here are some ideas for strengthening your connections with children this holiday season:
8. Give the gift of time spent together
Use holiday time to get down on the floor (or at a child’s level) and play! Let them lead the way. Ask questions, like “What are you building?” “What do you think would happen if…[we build the tower taller?]" (Relationship-building)
Share an interest, hobby or skill with a child. Children often imitate our actions or interests. For example:
-If you are a sports fan–give a team shirt and age-appropriate ball or sports equipment. (Gross motor skills)
-If you are a bird watcher, give a book about birds and take a walk to look for birds. Put out food for birds or decorate a birdhouse together. (Counting birds, naming colors, etc.)
9. Give the gift of language
Give young children books, or just spend time reading to children!
-Visit the library for holiday books to read to your children
-Talk about the pictures, stories and characters as you read
Have meaning-filled, back-and-forth conversations while playing or working together on tasks. For example: “Bring me two candy canes”, “Let’s roll the cookie dough.” “How does the dough feel? Mine feels sticky!”
(Serve and return interactions strengthen relationships and build resilience.)
10. Give the gift of comfort!
We often associate the holidays with comfort: the comfort of a warm home, comfort food, or curling up on the sofa to watch a holiday movie. Share with children ways to relax and find comfort when the excitement of the holidays begins to overwhelm.
-Provide opportunities for calming activities like snuggling, reading, breathing exercises or “I Love You rituals”
-Take a calming drive around to see Christmas lights and decorations
-If you travel, bring your child’s favorite comfort item like a blanket or toy
-Young children often find comfort in toys or items that appeal to the senses. Make your own sensory toys (such as homemade playdough) or shop our ECS store for our eepworm comfort toys and books!
We hope these tips help you make the most of the holidays with your children, wherever you may be!
We wish you joy and peace!
I'm Diane Goyette, a Child Development Specialist, Trainer, Consultant and Keynote Speaker. I'm excited to share my blog!