By Emily Singleton
The holiday season can be a time for parents to rediscover the magic and excitement of the holidays through their children. Part of this is about taking the traditions from your past and creating new ones with your children. During the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, sometimes we focus a lot of our energy on gift-buying for our little ones, but the things that will build your relationship with your children are the times you spend together. Here are some fun ways to connect with your little ones this holiday season:
Paper chains, banners, and ornaments are just a few crafts that can be adapted for various age groups. A quick internet search will yield many creative ideas. Don’t feel like they have to come out perfect – the important part is the time spent together—not the finished product.
Share stories and books that reflect your cultural traditions as well as others
The libraries are a great place to learn more about holiday traditions from your own culture as well as other countries, cultures, and belief systems. Stories don’t just come from books though – share stories from your childhood with your children. It can be as simple as telling about the first time you made a holiday dish, a holiday travel story, or telling about a childhood gift you gave or received.
Involve little ones in the kitchen
Food is a major part of all holiday celebrations. Little ones can help out too – it might mean dumping in or mixing up some ingredients, washing veggies, or shaping dough. Your child’s age will guide their involvement.
Sing-Alongs and Caroling
This one is not about how well you sing –it’s about singing together. Sharing songs from your culture or popular holiday songs that you like is a fun way to get kids involved. Ask grandparents or other family members to share their favorite holiday songs and teach them to your children. You can even record clips of your kids singing and send them to friends and relatives for virtual caroling.
Make holiday cards
Little ones love the idea of sending out cards to people they know. Let them draw or sign their names in holiday cards. They can also be involved in taking them to the mailbox. This helps them connect with loved ones far away.
Traditions can be fluid and they will change as your children grow older. The most important tradition at the holidays is enjoying the moments spent together with family and friends.
Emily Singleton is the senior program manager of Parent Partners Plus at Southwest Human Development. To learn more about Parent Partners Plus, visit parentpartnersplus.com. For more about Southwest Human Development, visit swhd.org