Are you staying at home for the holidays? Enjoying a Christmas Staycation? If you have children, planning for the vacation days ahead will allow you to enjoy the season rather than stress over how to keep your kids occupied. Below are a few tips to help make the holidays fun for everyone, including you!
Want to make your Christmas Staycation a success? As soon as possible, bring your family together for a “holiday planning meeting.” Let everyone contribute ideas, even outrageous ones, about what activities they would like to do during vacation. Decide which ones you will partake in and add them to a calendar posted where everyone can see it.
Next, review what needs to be done - appointments, already set activities, etc. - during the vacation, and add them to the calendar too. This will help minimize kids’ questions about what’s going on and will keep the family informed of last minute schedule changes.
During your “holiday planning meeting” ask your children what they plan to do on days when no activities are taking place. Having kids write down an “activity list,” noting things they like to do, helps them establish ideas you can direct them back to when they say, “I’m bored, there’s nothing to do.” Post the list on their bedroom door so it’s easily accessible.
In addition, you might want to create a list of things that will encourage everyone to help around the house, whether that’s baking cookies, sweeping the kitchen floor, or simply clearing dishes from the table after a meal. Children should see their participation in family chores as necessary and of value and that by working together, it lessens the load on mom and allows the family to enjoy more time together doing fun things.
Here are some ideas for your family’s Christmas Staycation:
1. Have a few rolls of pre-made cookie dough in the fridge. Make sure you have sprinkles and frosting on hand to decorate them.
2. Check your craft supply closet now and pick up some new items to add to it. Construction paper and sparkle glue go a long way with kids this time of year.
3. Find a place in your living room where puzzles and games can be set up permanently for the next few weeks instead of keeping them in the closet and out-of-sight. Add a new puzzle to the stack, leave a few decks of cards out and if you find a few extra minutes, teach your children how to play solitaire if they don’t already know. You may just find that it keeps kids occupied during times you can’t sit down and play a game with them.
4. Show your children how to use the computer in a worthwhile way. Find YouTube tutorials that teach your children finger knitting or arm knitting. There are plenty of sites that offer easy to follow instructions and will occupy children for up to 30 minutes at a time. Here are a few websites to get you started. Make sure to get yarn ahead of time and then let your children get creative!
Arm knitting - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=070qaUxEyp4
Finger knitting for kids - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZByp3Oa0dsI
5. You’ll also want to find online games and educational sites that kids can work on independently. Here’s a list of free sites to try.
6. Don’t forget to visit your local library before your stay-cation starts to pick up new books as well as some nature DVDs. And speaking of DVDs, pull out your own home DVDs that show your children when they were younger. Kids love to watch themselves, plus it will inspire them to talk about those fun days gone by.