Helping With Christmas

This is a super busy time of year, with shopping, program practicing, decorating, cooking, traveling, etc. Sometimes children get lost in the shuffle and feel left out. Of course, that's when the grumps appear and make everyone miserable.

Let them have their own "jobs" at Christmas. Maybe they can display the cards on a little clothesline. They love to help decorate the tree. (We always had one lower branch weighted down by the littlest child's handiwork.) I like having a plastic or wooden nativity set down at their level, so they can act out the story and arrange the figures as they please.

Cooking with children can be slow and messy, but they love "helping". Wrap an apron around their waist and pull up a stool. They can stir and dump measuring cups and decorate with candies or raisins. Some families make it a tradition to build a gingerbread house each year.

Whatever you choose to do together, take the time to enjoy it. Set aside an evening when you can leisurely spend time being a family. You may have to turn down a party or other activities, but it's more important to build family relationships that to fill your schedule with the hustle and bustle of the season.

Visiting grandparents or an elderly neighbor is another wonderful thing to do with children. Make homemade cards or sing some Christmas songs. Both the children and the older ones will benefit from the time shared.

Your children will soon be grown and have their own schedules. Don't miss the wonder of Christmas when they are young. Establish some fun, meaningful traditons. Who knows? Maybe your children will carry them on to their own families.

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