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Surviving the Holidays with Children

I have always seen myself as a laid back person.  However, my friends tell me I am crazy.  They never understood why I felt the need to have my children make ornaments for our tree and why, when they were small, I brought snow inside for them to play.  Honestly, these things did not make things harder.  They made the time with my children so enjoyable – and easier in the long run.  You may be asking yourself… easier???  let me explain.

There are a lot of little things we feel “must” be done around the holidays.  A lot of them time consuming and most are things only YOU can do.  We just need to make peace with it – it is just how it goes.  I always do all of the things I feel are important.  However, the most important thing to me has always been my family.  I make time to enjoy time with them and make sure they are enjoying themselves before I do what I must.

If you decorate a tree… why not decorate it with you children’s art?  We would get together at the kitchen table, cut, paste, string and paint popsicle sticks, Styrofoam balls, pom-poms, photographs and more.  While they were creating I would string lights.  While we were cutting and laughing and making a mess, we made memories.  They wanted to be a part of decorating.  While their masterpieces dried, they were (beaming with pride) and passing me the other things to go on our tree.  Their art, once dry, would be the last things to don our tree.  We strategically place their ornaments at children’s eye level.  The exercise became our tradition, kept them busy and happy, allowed for “together time” and creativity and provided them a reason to be patient while the tree was decorated.  Clean up was easy… we had a craft box and all unused items are tossed in there for next time.

Shoveling… another “must do” is not one of my favorite things to do.  When my kids were small, they wanted to help.  Which made my job harder more times than not.  Instead, I would give them old markers for them to draw in the snow.  They would mark where I still needed to shovel, make pictures and play tic tac toe.  They would also collect snow to bring inside.  We would fill rectangular bins with snow and use markers, plastic cups, spoons and glitter and play until the snow melted.  Once they were finished, they would toss the old, get new and play some more.  We did this in the bathroom so that the tile floor was easy to clean.  Again… easy clean up, tons of fun and together time.  What more can  you ask?

This holiday, decide what you really feel is important.  Find a way to have yoru children be present, enjoying them and having them enjoying themselves.  Tie their activity to yours so they feel a part of it.  Ideas for fun… snowmen while you are shoveling, washing babies in the sink while you are cleaning the kitchen, folding baby clothes when you are folding, have them create a grocery list too when you go shopping, have them add hand drawn pictures to your holiday cards, have them measure, add and stir while you are cooking…

Most importantly have fun!  Happy Holidays.

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