preschoolers,ways,holidays,preschooler,christmas holidays,how to prepare
ParentingPreschooler

5 Ways to Prepare Your Preschooler for the Holidays

Mom of two, homeschooling advocate contributor Teachermama Tina Rodriguez has some tried and tested tips to share for parents who want to make this season a little bit more meaningful for their little ones.

christmas childThe Christmas holidays are fast approaching, and for many families out there, it is always best to prepare in advance for this fun but sometimes stressful time of the year.

The holidays are a special time of the year for most families and the hustle and bustle of preparing for week-long trips to the provinces (for families who choose to do so) that most often than not include the typical Filipino family reunion, can be a source of joy and pain at the same time, especially if one has kids of preschool age in tow. Here are a few ways we can ensure that our Christmas with the little ones is truly merry, and not full of stress and tears.


1.    Plan ahead. In a financial education seminar that I attended recently (for free! Hurray for freebies!), it was said that “It wasn’t raining when Noah built the ark. People don’t plan to fail. They just fail to plan.” I believe that this applies not just for our finances but in every aspect of our lives as well. In this specific case, making a specific plan for the holidays will save you a lot of time and tears since everyone will be aware of what to expect.

Make sure that you include the schedule of activities for the entire family, taking into consideration ample time for both sides of the family, the children’s school vacation schedule, best days to travel, etc. Prepare a list of things to do in each place, especially activities that the kids can do. If you plan to have a family getaway, check in advance that the place where you’ll be staying is child-friendly and is located near places where your preschooler can have fun (e.g. playgrounds, parks, children’s museums, zoos, etc).

Of course, even if you already have a plan in place, it never hurts to be flexible. Adjust your schedules and activities as needed, taking into consideration also your child’s mood and energy levels.

 

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Click here to see more ways to prepare your preschooler for the holidays.

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Read on to see more ways to prepare your preschooler for the holidays.


2.    Involve your kids. The preschool years are a perfect time to start teaching your kids how they can be involved in important occasions and celebrations, such as Christmas and New Year. If you’re the type who likes to fill the house with Christmas decor, you could try making some handmade decorations with your little ones for the Christmas tree, or designing together your own Christmas cards to be given to family and friends. They can even make cute and unique gifts to be bestowed upon their loved ones. (For examples of Christmas decor and gifts that you could do, try going to these links: amazingmoms.com, familycrafts.about.com and suite101.com.

You can also involve your kids in preparing the family meals for your Christmas and New Year’s celebrations. Bake a cake together, or make some cookies. Teach them to how to toss a salad together. Ask them to set the table under your supervision. This will provide lots of family fun and learning at the same time too – preschool kids love to experiment with different textures and materials at this age and you might find yourself teaching them some instant basic Science in the process.

If you are going away for the holidays, try involving your children in the preparations, like letting them choose what clothes, toys and books they will bring along. Ask them to choose which tourist destination spots should be top on your priority. Show them pictures of the places where you will be going and explain to them what you will be doing there, so that they can start getting excited and know what to expect.


3.    Relative Concerns. If you are going to join any family reunions during the holidays it is best to prepare your kids for overly excited relatives whom they have either NEVER seen before, or haven’t seen in a long time. You can do so by showing them pictures of Lolo so and so and Tita whoever. Tell them that these people are part of your extended family, and that they love and care for them too, and are excited to see them. Remind your kids about the proper ways of greeting their elders (making “mano” for us traditional Filipinos, or for the more “modern” families, hugs and kisses on the cheek, etc). Help them make their own Christmas cards for special members of the family, like a beloved Lola or a close cousin.

It may also be best to brief your relatives about your little one – i.e. if he is a bit shy around unfamiliar faces, if he is scared of people with big moustaches, etc. This way they won’t feel offended if he doesn’t immediately take to their eagerness to smother him with bear hugs and wet kisses (Eeww!). Although I am not one for bribing with sweets (or bribing in any other manner, hehe) informing them about Junior’s favourite treats so they can prepare one or two for him could also help “sweeten” their encounters and make family reunions less stressful and more fun.

 

Click here to see more ways how to prepare your preschooler for the holidays.

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Read on to see more ways how to prepare your preschooler for the holidays.


4.    Readiness with Reading.  Go to your local thrift book shop (stores like Books for Less and Booksale have great bargain books on sale!) and try looking for books that have holiday themes. Or borrow a few from friends or neighbours. Read these together with your child and try asking her questions and relating the scenes in the books to your own family’s holiday happenings. Reading books always helps teach kids about important aspects of life, and celebrating the holidays is one of the most enjoyable times in a kid’s life. When they see the characters in books enjoying, celebrating and understanding the true meaning of the holidays, it is easier for them to apply this in their own lives.

Some suggested books to read with your little one are:
•    What is Christmas?
•    God Gave Us Christmas
•    Getting Ready For Christmas
•    My First Christmas
•    Tell Me the Christmas Story


5.    Share of yourself - The true meaning of Christmas. There would be no season of celebrating if there were no Reason to do so, and the true meaning of Christmas is our celebration of Christ’s birth. Let your child show concretely how the Christmas spirit has touched you and your family by asking him to choose toys, books and clothes from his own collections to give away to charity. Hold a simple Christmas party at a local orphanage, or make Christmas cards and easy-to-make gifts to be given to patients in a nearby pediatric ward. Cook up a batch of goto (porridge) together and help give poor kids in your neighbourhood a hot tasty meal. Always have some biscuits ready to be shared with poor beggars whenever you’re out and about (this is better than giving them money). Think up of more ways to show love and concern for your neighbour together with your little ones – no one is too small or poor that they cannot share what they have!


Of course, the holidays would not be meaningful and memorable for your preschooler if you yourself are stressed out because of preparations. Take time to relax, delegate tasks that need to be done, and make time for lots of cuddling, laughing, playing, singing and praying together with your kids!  These are the best days to create perfect family moments together, ones that your little ones will cherish even after they’ve grown up and had their own children.

Advance Happy Holidays everyone!


Photo from sxc.hu

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