Holidays are perfect time of the year for parents, grandparents, relatives and friends to try out some new, engaging activities with children they love. It is a great time to create lasting memories of creative, fun time together. But sometimes, despite our good intentions, our children are running around the house looking for some constructive outlet to plug that extra energy into.
What holiday gifts can we give our children?!
1. Turn down outside noise: Turning off the TV or other gadgets will reduce the outside noise in the family as well give us more thought into listening to the real need of the child. Holidays have no compromise on the child spending time with that passive companion.
2. Share special memories: Your family old time Photos / family wedding or birthday cds / our stories on how we spent vacation are a great way to start their holidays.
3. Holiday Calendar / Count down: Make a calendar along with your child on the holiday plans. You can mark the way you would love to spend time. The child can be encouraged to highlight the events or mark a X as the days goes by.
4. Family Time: As we get into more nuclear family set up, spending time with grandparents and cousins are great way to spend the holidays. Children look forward for guests at home as well visiting relative’s house. This also prepares them for different culture in different families.
5.Home Decors: Children can be engaged in making a center piece for the table or a wall hanging or name board for your house. They can also make simple danglers with paper strips to decorate their room.
6.Showing gratitude: Holidays are perfect time to slow down our daily chores and spend more time with our child in helping them express their emotions. “It was nice when that brother helped you climb that ladder in the park. Isn’t it?”, “I think that child felt so much pain when she fell down today. I felt so happy when you helped her that moment.”, “I’m sad that we couldn’t go to the garden today” etc. The more we express our emotions, the clearer they understand their way to express at different instances. Indulge/encourage them in making cards with small notes “Thank You”, “Good Day!” etc to their loved ones. Children love gifting something they made by themselves.
7.Games / Toys: Certainly Legos, blocks, magna tiles are very interesting toys where children can engage for hours together in their creative play. Equally engaging would be games from our tradition like pallankuzhi with chozhi, blowing tamarind seeds, pandi, Dhayam and five stones – less expensive family games and good for their sensorial needs to too. Let’s reexplore our good old games and entice our children in more fun. Older children can also engage in making their own board games.
8.Taking care of the environment: It is summer! Definitely your child can indulge in lot of fun with water on a purposeful activity. A bucket full of soap water and a brush is a best way to help them tidy up their toys and soft toys. They get to clean their stuffs as well learn to take good care of them. Cleaning the combs, dusting their shelves and rearranging their clothes can be done along with them.
9.Visiting Local Library: Library is a nice hang out place to be with your child of any age group. While you can enjoy reading large range of books with your young child, grown-ups can get into the habit of lending books and be responsible about it. All children would be interested in books if introduced nicely to them. They slowly develop love for books from what we show to them.
10.Take out a map or globe or atlas: Children above 4 years can engage in activities appropriate to their developmental stage on identifying rivers/ lakes/ countries etc. Atlas games are greatly liked by all children and they can spend hours with it. Bringing their attention to all green boards while you travel is a great way to engage them in reading as well orients them with places.
11.Hobby of your child’s interest: Holidays are perfect time to spend time with your child on seeding the thought of hobbies like collection of leaves, coins, seeds, shells, stamps etc of your child’s interest.
12.Planning for a vacation: Involve your child in planning for your trip during the vacation. Choice of place, talking about the weather, places to visit, things to pack, budgeting (for older children) are some beautiful experience our child gets at young age. This gives them a very positive approach to look forward for such trips and will cooperate well during the trip.
13.Routine: Maintain Normal schedule as best as you can. Please prepare your child of any events planned well in advance so they look forward. Children get easily disturbed when they are not prepared well for any outing or arrival of any guests. If you can prepare them well, they are ready to receive it. For eg: If you expect a family to visit your house, please talk to them about it, tell them the child who may accompany them, how long they may stay, what food you prepare for the guest etc. This definitely will help the child positively react to the family who visits you.
14.Play Dates: As children, we use to enter our neighbour’s house anytime of the day by just knocking their door and spend hours together. But these days everyone has their own plan for their day and it becomes important to get permission even for children to meet up and play. Play Date is a new culture to have friends at home. In a way this practice, helps children find right companions and also parents take turns in helping children.
Good rest, Healthy eating, lots of hugs and kisses will help them be happy throughout their holidays.