Spend Time Playing During Christmas Break!

A young mother and her son are celebrating Christmas morning together, they are both lying on the floor and playing with newly opened toys together. (Photo: iStock - SolStock)

I want to challenge you this Christmas break to take time to play with your child and be present with them. Enjoy the new toys with them and the cardboard box creations! And don’t worry, they will teach you how to play and bring out that creativity you never knew you had locked up inside you. Enjoy the holidays and remember that experiences, no matter how big or little, will be the memories you and your child will remember for years to come.

Children need high-quality and truly “connected time” with their parents to feel supported and help develop those social and emotional skills that come with interactions and modeling. Remember it doesn’t have to be a lot of hours especially if you might only have a ½ hour before bedtime once you get all the other daily activities completed. Use the tips below to spend that ½ hour high-quality time with your children.

Tips for Families

Here are tips for busy families from National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC):

  • Have a daily “connect” time with your child. Do this face-to-face, if possible; but if this isn’t an option, create a routine for doing so in other ways, such as leaving a note in your child’s lunch bag, posting a note by his toothbrush, or writing an encouraging saying on a shared whiteboard in the house.
  • Create a special ritual for you and your child – something that can be done every day. For example, let your child choose and read one book with you at bedtime.
  • Tell your child you love them every day. And tell them how important they are to you and how they make you feel.
  • Reinforce positive behavior. For example, if your child completes their chores without your asking, acknowledge it with words of appreciation, even if you don’t have the chance do so until the next day.
  • Make and eat meals with your children whenever possible. If time is limited, look for simple meals that require very little preparation, or grab a healthy snack, such as an apple, and sit for a few minutes and chat with your child.
  • Schedule time for doing an activity of your child’s choosing. Be sure to follow through and complete the activity without any distractions.
  • Play with your child, even if it’s during bath time or outside before you drop them off at preschool. Every little bit of time makes a positive impact!
  • Laugh and be silly with your child.
  • Turn off technology when you spend time with your child. Try not to text, answer calls, scroll through social media, or watch television.

For more information on early childhood development and resources contact Audrey Rider at [email protected] or 605-882-5140.