Holidays are about sharing traditions, customs and stories about what each family believes and wants to pass on to their children. Some traditions are steeped in history or religion while others are pertinent to an individual family unit. The challenge is this: how do we prevent holiday overload and unexpected behaviors that are difficult for everyone?
I read a blog today, written by another Montessorian, who said “all children want for Christmas is you!” There is so much truth to those words. If we think about all of the time spent at work, away from loved ones and now there is an opportunity to relax, put technology away, and just be with your family, the time together is more than enough for everyone!
Holidays are gift giving times. Our children are inundated with visual advertisements for all of the latest gadgets, games with moving images. Think about gifting useful items like books, wooden objects, a basket of cooking items, tickets to a show for the whole family, planned outings, and puzzles and games to play together.
It’s so much better when children’s schedules remain the same during vacations, travel and family visits. That means we have to put their needs first. Meals, naps and play have to be regulated. Waiting for a child to wake up refreshed is much better than an exhausted child whom family and friends want to visit and can’t understand the inappropriate behaviors.
Children love to be included in the festivities and want to be a contributing member of the family. With gentle support, they can help set the table, write out name cards, create flower arrangements, and decorate the home with pine cones collected on a walk. Think of ways to include children in the process.
I remember family members giving my children noisy toys, scented markers, and all kinds of electric powered toys. Without being a curmudgeon, it is appropriate to make suggestions for gifts for your children. Like vintage, child-powered games, board games and puzzles are very appropriate.
And remember, the holidays are for the enjoyment of all. Family and friends together, loving and spending time together. Put yourself under the tree – give yourself as a gift to your children!