That Wonderful Time of Year
It is now that wonderful time of year! This time can mean something different to each person. Even with the joys that come along with the holiday season, it can be stressful as parents try to make it a “perfect holiday.” However, remember there is no such thing as a “perfect holiday.” There are only memories of connecting and being together as a family, not thinking about the ever-growing to-do list, but instead building a deeper connection with your children. This is the key to a joyful holiday season.
We talk about quality time with those you love all the time. The holidays are no exception. Spending time with your children away from the hectic holiday schedule can eliminate the holiday stress. Enjoy the simple things of the season. Going around your neighborhood looking at all the lights or listening to holiday music, like Nat King Cole, are a few ideas to have quality time. The authors’ favorite thing is watching holiday movies with their families. Honestly, this is what they remember most about the holiday season when they were children. Remembering this quality time shows that connecting is what makes the season.
Spending time away from the hectic schedule is excellent, but we still have so much to do. But, focusing on connecting is key to getting it all done without stress. For instance, shopping and wrapping presents together can be a time to let things happen organically. Some of the best conversations happen when you are shopping and wrapping gifts together. The result may not be the prettiest wrapped gift, but it is all about the journey that matters. Not only is this a connecting activity, but it can also help your child build character traits like altruism, which is a great gift to give.
On that long to-do list, cooking is always on there. When preparing the holiday meals, include your children. Give your kids a part of the meal to help prepare, or if they are old enough, prepare a dish themselves, and you be the sous-chef. Use this time to actively listen to what they want to talk about. Ask them what they are looking forward to eating and why, or narrate what your little one is doing if they can’t talk yet. The best part about this is eating what you created together. Talk about what each person prepared and how delicious the food is. This connects you but also gives your children pride in what they have contributed to the meal.
It is truly the little things that make the most significant difference during the holiday season. Spending time and doing things to knock down the to-do list together can make the holidays full of joyful memories for your whole family. As we approach this holiday season, find the moments that don’t seem like much and connect with your children. It will follow them for the rest of their lives. Happy Holidays to all and to all great connections!
Katie Dilzell is a lifelong resident of New Orleans and has always enjoyed working with young children. After studying Elementary Education at Louisiana State University, she received her Master’s of Education from the University of New Orleans. Before joining the Parenting Center, Katie spent 17 years as a classroom teacher. She has a wealth of knowledge about child development and parenting.
Monet Somerville is a Parent Educator at The Parenting Center. She is currently pursuing her PhD in Developmental Psychology with a Concentration in Child and Adolescent Development. She is also a licensed Trust Based Relational Intervention Practitioner.