Finally… Christmas vacation is here, and wouldn’t you rather your children’s time off from school be filled with more joy and fewer screens? More sugar cookies and less sibling squabbles? More gift giving and less tattle-telling? We would too!
And even if all of your dreams in this area don’t come true, you can make not just a kids’ Christmas, but one that you’ll enjoy as well. Here are 10 ways to enjoy your kids this Christmas.
1. Plan ahead.
Take a few minutes to envision how you want those non-school days to go. Come up with a plan so your kids will know what you expect. It doesn’t have to be elaborate. It can be as simple as having one “Holiday Happening” each day. During this time you can use some of our ideas below, or come up with your own bit of Christmas magic.
2. Choose a family tradition.
At the start of Christmas break, whip up some hot apple cider or hot chocolate and gather your family together. Use this list of great Christmas traditions to get ideas and ask your kids for their ideas. Choose one, two, or more. Let each of your kids be in charge of a tradition.
3. Ho, ho, hand over your screen!
I know you don’t want to spend the entire break battling over screens, and neither do I. So, to preserve our sanity and our Christmas peace, let’s come up with screen guidelines. Decide how many minutes or, gulp, hours a day your kids can stay on their screens. This screen time tracker can help.
4. Family time every day.
If you have to work during your kids’ Christmas break, you can still share special times together. When you get home in the evening, spend a half hour or an hour doing something Christmasy. It can be as passive as watching a Christmas movie, or as active as leaving goodies at your neighbors’ doorsteps.
5. Christmas bucket list.
If your children are old enough, put them in charge of choosing each day’s activity from our Christmas bucket list, or have them come up with their own ideas.
6. Venture forth!
When all else fails, get out of the house! When you do leave the house, have your kids leave all screens behind. Talk in the car on your way to the mall to look at Christmas decorations, or as you drive around to look at Christmas lights.
Go for a holiday-themed treat–peppermint milkshakes, gingerbread cookies, or candy canes. Go to the playground and play Holiday Tag; when you tag someone you have to say a holiday word–Santa! Reindeer! Hot chocolate!
7. Holiday helpers.
Once their screen time is used up, put the screens out of sight and let them get creative on their own or have them choose a to-do from our Holiday Helper Ideas. You can also send them over to the I’m Bored Jar.
8. Giving and wishing.
I love iMOM’s Christmas Giving and Wishing List. It’s a really cute activity for young children all the way through the teenage years. To little kids, it’s magical; to older kids, it’s kind of silly, but it gets them thinking about others, not just themselves.
9. Slow motion.
This is a fun way to help you and your kids slow down and enjoy a more leisurely pace over break. Start the day in slow motion–literally. Spend the first few minutes of your morning, (or afternoon, if you have teenagers!), doing everything in slow motion.
10. The spirit of Christmas.
The Christmas story is one of love and giving. That’s the same spirit we need to bring into our holiday parenting. As much as possible, take advantage of the extra time you get to be with your children. If they start getting on your nerves, make sure your expectations for them are realistic and practice these principles of affirming “approximately right behavior.”
Tell us! What other Christmas vacation ideas do you have?