Holidays… a magical time of year. The smells of cakes, the illuminated and decorated city, gifts, socializing… all this causes a feeling of joyful anticipation and excitement in most of us. Only children feel that special charm. Most people associate their fondest childhood memories with the New Year and Christmas holidays.
The holidays are definitely an ideal time to spend more time with your children. Through family connections, traditions and events, the child develops his own identity, emotionality, socialization and belonging, and thus satisfies the needs for feelings of love, respect, and acceptance.
The holiday period provides an opportunity to develop a family tradition, ie it enables the child to adopt positive parenting experiences related to the holidays, which teaches the child to respect simple but special life moments and accept the importance of mutual relations in his life.
How to develop a family tradition?
When parents (or grandparents) tell a child about holiday events and people from their childhood, all those events and people become part of the child's inner, emotional world. An important part of the family tradition is certainly the repetition family rituals. Children learn best through repetition: rituals trigger activities, and children love repetition because it gives them a sense of security. Namely, in order for a child to feel safe, he needs his everyday world to be predictable. Rituals and family customs, both everyday and those especially related to the holidays, create a greater sense of security and comfort in a child's life, which all positively affects his development into a self-confident, adapted and mature adult. Try to repeat some part of the holiday rituals from year to year, e.g. making and sending greeting cards together, decorating the house and giving presents, making cakes together, walking around the city on the first day of the New Year, going to church on Christmas morning and the like.
Try to involve child in activities: let him help decorate the Christmas tree or make cakes, praise him (regardless of the appearance of the Christmas tree and the taste and appearance of the cake), let him feel useful and proud; thus developing his self-confidence and independence. Allow the older child to "take a break" from school, this is still a very exciting time of the year for him, so he deserves his "holiday".
If you don`nt have family traditions, it's never too late to start. Ask your children what they would like to do each year. If you can't agree on the suggestions of the family, start the celebration in several ways, so that every member of the family feels that it is an important part of the celebration.
Giving is an important part of the holiday. In that ocasion, children can think about what can make other people happy and what is important to the people they care about. The joy of dear people when opening a gift in which the child has invested his effort can certainly make the holidays even happier and more valuable.
Make gifts with the children. Help the children to make their own personal collages, drawings, pictures…, and frame them with frames that the children decorated themselves; make decorations from crumpled napkins, candies (hang candies on a string - children love candies on the Christmas tree) or bake a large amount of homemade cakes (of course, all in cooperation with the child)… The possibilities are endless!
Instead of donating items, teach children to donate their time. For example: the grandmother might appreciate the grandson's help in cleaning the basement, or it would be useful to explain to the grandfather how to use the internet, or cleaning the garage with dad, or helping mom with kitchen chores…
It is important to remember that children learn according to the model of their parents. They imitate parental behavior and the system of values and thinking. Show your children that the holidays can be a fulfilling and joyful time of year, not a stressful and exhausting marathon in malls, then cleaning, then guests, then "let me have some more coffee", "go out while I smoke a cigarette", "wait until adults talk ”, and so on. From their early childhood, emphasize that it is not important to receive piles of gifts, but to give and receive from the heart. By introducing traditions that emphasize the true meaning of the holidays, you can help shape the way a child views the holiday season and what it means to give and receive throughout the year.
Wish you a lot of magical moments with your children for holidays!