Whichever holiday you celebrate in the winter season, it is usually filled with a variety of activities and traditions. I want to help you enjoy the holiday and share what you love about it with your child.
So, I ask you -
What is the one thing that would make you happy this holiday season?
Watching your child open up a present by the tree Christmas morning?
Going to church/synagogue/mosque with your whole family?
Decorating the tree together?
Lighting the candles in the menorah together?
Instead of trying to tackle all of your plans and hoping things will turn out how you want, or giving up on your usual traditions and assuming your child can’t handle it, I encourage you to pick one activity that you would like your child to participate in that would also bring you joy.
Once you have chosen the activity, think about how you can structure it to make it manageable and enjoyable for your child as well. It might look different than what you envisioned and that’s okay.
Here is an example.
Decorating the tree together
If this is what would make your heart sing, think about ways to structure this activity so your child can participate and enjoy the experience. Adding structure to an activity provides a child with lots of information. Let’s say your child has a short attention span and doesn’t seem to have a big interest in the tree. Make sure you have the basics set-up before asking your child to join. This would mean that the tree is already in the stand, the lights are placed on the tree, and the ornaments are ready to hang. Give your child a specific job. Put the ornaments you want your child to hang on the tree in a separate container so they can visually see when they are done. If you have placed 8 ornaments in the container, your child is finished when the 8 ornaments are on the tree.
Other things to consider - do you usually listen to Christmas music while your decorate the tree? If you think this could cause too much stimulation, maybe this year you don’t listen to music while decorating. Or, does your child like one particular song? Then maybe you play this song on a loop as you decorate the tree. It’s called, pick your battles!
Choose a motivator - decorating a tree might be very fun and rewarding to you, but it might not be to your child. Use First/Then to help motivate your child. First - decorate the tree; Then - eat 2 Christmas cookies (or open 1 present, or play with Legos).
Holidays provide us with hundreds of moments to create special memories. To help you enjoy the holidays with your child, remember the words from Winnie The Pooh…
“Sometimes the smallest things take up the most room in our hearts”
Winnie The Pooh