As we get closer to winter vacation, we become busier and busier. Children can get left behind in that hustle and bustle, but I wanted to share some thoughts with you about staying close to your kids, even when it’s busy and stressful. And it’s not about the gifts :).
It all starts in the morning. Morning snuggles are a great way for you to start the day with a smile and to help your children start the day with a smile. Weather its right after they wake up or right before they walk out the door, morning snuggles make everyone smile. The more children you have, the more important this step can be. It will have a ripple effect on the day and help everyone feel more loved. It will help you all wake up with gratitude. And getting organized the night before will ensure everyone has time for morning snuggles.
Another idea for the morning is playing holiday music while your kids eat breakfast or get dressed. You have so many options for finding holiday music that fits your family, from YouTube to cable or satellite, to the radio. With so many holiday music choices, it's a nice opportunity to make sure everyone leaves the house with a smile.
Another idea during the busy holiday is taking your children on a date. If your partner is willing to help and watch the other children, you can even do this one child at a time. You can take them to their favorite place, shopping for the opposite parent for a gift, or just out for a cafe to talk for 20 minutes. It doesn't have to be expensive and it doesn't have to be long, but your children will really appreciate you asking them questions and listening to them.
My last idea is making children feel useful. Children really do want responsibility, and want to help, and they usually want to be social about it. Let them help you cook dinner, or sort laundry, or mate those socks together. Hand them a broom while you mop, or a spray bottle while you do windows. The chores have to get done no matter what, why not do them together?
A long ago guest on the Oprah Winfrey Show said that one of the best gifts you can give your children is to act so excited to see them when they walk in the door. When you see your children next, be genuinely excited to see them, and they will know you put them first.
Erin Rae is the Curriculum Coordinator at Lockport 91.