This holiday season as you go out looking for that perfect gift try to think about what you can do to foster social emotional growth in your children as well. I don’t remember a lot of the gifts I received as a kid, but I do remember the traditions and fun activities we had as a family. Kids remember what you do with them more than the things you give them. Below I’ve included just a few ways to spend time and use the holiday season to provide some social emotional bonding for you and your kids.
Trip to the park: You and your child do not have to be “productive” in order to have fun. Get outside and explore or just enjoy the outdoors for a little while. Most cities have a few neighborhoods open for viewing all the holiday decorations and lights.
Help them plan a holiday party for their friends: As children get older their social world is ever-expanding. Teach them (not do for them) how to be a host and prepare for having guests. They’ll appreciate you showing them now, instead of learning how when they are adults.
Let them help “fixing” something broken: I remember helping my parents fix things that were broken. I think it dispels the myth that you must call for help anytime something breaks. I learned how to problem-solve fix problems on my own. Anyone who has hung up Christmas lights knows, it almost never works the first time. Kids can help you problem-solve how to fix it!
Go someplace special with Dad or Mom: Build some one on one time with Dad or Mom, build on your relationship by going somewhere that is just for the two of you.
Bedtime story: Many holiday stories touch on building character and social well-being (with a holiday twist of course). This time of year there are so many great holiday books and stories for young children out there.
Decorating the home for the holidays: Building a gingerbread houses, putting up decorations, trimming the tree. Let the kids take an active part in the process. Let them put their own stamp on your holiday traditions. It’s fun seeing what they come up with!
Christmas day scavenger hunt: Hide a gift and leave successive clues as to how to find them. Ten years down the road they may forgot the iPod you gave them, but they will most definitely remember solving the mystery of how they found it!
Hopefully I was able to include something for every age level. Some are good for any age!
Enjoy the holidays!