The Blog

As a newspaper columnist, Nancy Devlin, Ph.D. has written over 700 articles on subjects related to education and parenting. Welcome to her Classroom!

Preparing For The Holiday Break

I wish you a joyous, peaceful and tranquil holiday season.  With all the children out of school and underfoot this is not easy to achieve.  Start planning now.

Provide activities for the children.  For the younger ones, save all of the Christmas wrappings, bows, cards, twine and anything else that is laying around after the presents are opened.  Later, when they seem to have used up all of thier own creative ideas for activities, bring outh this box of “dignified junk”.  Add to it scissors and paste and paper and let them use their imaginations.

You can add to this activity an element of  helping others, by having them make a scrapbook of Christmas cards to be sent or delivered to a nearby nursing home.  A visit to a nursing home is not a bad idea in itself.  Your children could bring joy to people who are not getting much attention and would welcome a change in the routine.  Planning an activity like this conveys the message that Christmas is not just the “getting of presents” season, it is also the giving season.

Another idea is to use a book like “50 Simple Things Kids Can Do To Save the Earth” and plan activities to help children understand the dangers to the environment.  This makes them active and not passive learners.  They have a part to play in saving the earth.  They can and should make a difference.  It is everybody’s problem.  Here are some examples:  Start collecting the glass bottles and jars and put them in the recyling bin.  Wash out aluminum cans and recycle in the same way.  Carry a bag to put trash in when you go for a walk.  Make a bird house out of a milk carton.  Bring your own bag with you when you go shopping.  Grow greenery at home.  Be a paper-saver.  These are only seven of the ideas from this book.  Doing them all, would keep your children very busy during the holidays and would make them good citizens. 

Another idea is for your family to decide on a good cause or worthy group that could use your help.  The largest group living in poverty is children.  You and your family can begin by writing letters to voice your opposition to lack of funding for programs that serve children.  In a financial crisis, they are the first to be dropped.

Another activity would be for children to clean out their closets of clothes and toys they no longer need and take them to a drop-off  box.

It is always a good idea to plan some outings for the children.  You know the list: library, museum, zoo, park.  It is also important for the adults to plan an outing for themselves without the children.  Too much togetherness can wear anybody down.  Plan to have a high school student available to help you when you need a break.  The student could also play all those games the children received for Christmas.  That relieves you of a great burden not only in having to understand the directions but in having to play the games over and over again.  Good planning makes for good cheer.  I hope your holidays are cheerful.

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