Christmas break is coming up quicker than we know, and while it’s an awesome time to reconnect and chill, it can pose some difficulties for our kids who like predictability and structure.
Here are 5 ways to help you and your family keep the calm in the chaos.
1. Stay consistent on bedtime routines and a daily schedule. Especially this year with COVID-19 restrictions there will be less playdates and fewer, if any visits with family. This means there will be more of the same, being home and only having each other. It’s a blessing and a curse. Giving kids a consistent bedtime and similar routine means they’re getting enough sleep and can anticipate how their day will go. Sure it’s fun to stay up late and watch movies and snuggle, but it’s no fun when your kids are grumpy and you haven’t had any time to yourself. Everyone needs to feel refreshed and ready to take on another day.
2. Get outside. Yes it's cold. Yes, it’s a lot of work to bundle them up. But the fresh air and movement will help to refresh and tire them out. Even if you walk the neighbourhood to see decorations or check the mail, at least you’ve taken some good deep breaths and engaged in an activity to reset your day. And, you will have killed some time.
3. Find super simple activities that can keep them busy. One of our favourites is “write the room” where I put words (some they can recognize and some they don’t) on sticky notes and place them around the room. Then they take a piece of paper and a pencil and try to find them - make them holiday themed, pick words from a book they’re reading. Once they’ve found and written the word, ask them to put them in a sentence - even if it’s a silly sentence. Ever have a toy carwash? Fill up a bin with water, give them some washcloths or old toothbrushes and let them “wash” their toys (obviously not the electronic ones). You can make nearly anything a game with kids - and I’m not against having a prize as an incentive.
4. Let them be bored. It’s okay to not entertain them every moment of the day. Boredom fuels creativity. Send them to their rooms with dolls, puzzles or cars. They are totally capable of entertaining themselves.
5. Family Story/Reading Time. We love to get into our big bed and read. Everyone brings books, we cozy up and set a timer. Mama and daddy read, kids read and it’s quiet. Even if it’s only for 15 minutes. Get all the pillows in the house, make a reading fort or a huge bed on the living room floor. These seemingly little things are huge to kids. It’s more about the time spent than the outcome. And, if the kids get bored with reading, make up a story together. 2020 has certainly been an unusual year, so what kind of story could your family write together, with an adventurous spin to it?
Melissa Klassen, B.A. Soc, ECE, ESW
Behaviour Strategist & Education Consultant
Melissa Klassen is the Behaviour Strategist and Education Consultant with Co & Associates. She works one-on-one withe parent(s) and caregiver(s) to help support them as they navigate new behaviours and challenges as families transition through growing pains and life circumstances. Melissa also provides educational support for parents who have chosen home-schooling or alternative learning programs for their child(ren).