Monday, November 20, 2006

The Holiday Season and Kids

The Holiday season the time for joy, peace and love and it can also be the season for cranky and selfish kids. Tis the season to stay up late, fa la la la la la well you know the rest When kids stay up late, they tend to get grumpy, whiney, well it is just not a pretty site. Also it is the season for children who see what they want and want what they see. Do your kids have the gimmes? How can you change their mindset and help them focus, not only on themselves, but on others as well as the meaning of the season during this festive time? How can you, as a parent, survive the holidays and try to stay sane and make the season enjoyable for everyone?

Here are a few pointers that may help you with your quest:

1) Tell your kids it is not all about them. I suggest (if they are older) to take them to a homeless shelter or hospital and allow them to volunteer. Some entire families pitch in at a soup kitchen during Thanksgiving or over Christmas. I believe that this will help your child understand that there are less fortunate children out there and that they need to think of others as well as themselves. Why not adopt a family that you can purchase gifts or a Christmas meal for. Teach your children to count their blessings instead of always wanting more. Teach them to share with others what they have already. Why not look through their own toys and get them to help you to choose a few that they do not play with any more so that they can give them to someone that has no toys.

2) Realize that the focus that most of the world shows that Christmas is all about stuff. Keep in mind that this is mainly due to the retailers.
The yearly budget of most stores depend on this month or month and a half period of time prior to and just after Christmas, so naturally they want you to come out and spend, spend, spend! Ask your child to make a list and get them to pick their very favourite two or three gifts and go from there.

3) Create your own traditions with and for your children. Store bought stuff is fine, but why not string popcorn and decorate your tree with that? Find things that can incorporate your children. My girls usually make a few presents or they go shopping at the local dollar store with the money that they have saved. Why not make some of your presents this year? Or have your children make Christmas cards or wrapping paper. There is a lot that children can do if you let them.

4) Carry the spirit all through the year. Why not share the good things and feelings of Christmas all throughout the year? This is something you can teach your children to do as well. Think of the movie Pay It Forward. If you share the joy, peace, happiness and love of Christmas, with others, chances are that they will as well.

5) Relax and remember to take time for what is important to you and your family. If your children see you relaxed then they will be too. It is amazing how much they pick up on our moods and if we are stressed out, they will be too. Make sure your children are well rested. If you allow them to stay up late, try and let them sleep late the next day. If they are not
the type to sleep in, you can lay down with them in the afternoon or put them to bed earlier at night. If your child suffers from a lack of sleep not only will they be grumpy, they could risk picking up colds and the flu because when you are sleep deprived, your immune system is down too.

Christmas is a special time of year to spend with friends and family members. I think the key is to not get too caught up in the shopping and other things that you simply MUST do and do what is important for yourself, the rest of your family and especially your children. After all, these people are the next generation and if we go crazy at Christmas time with all the things that we have to do, imagine what they will be like in forty years?

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