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!

Good Planning Makes for Good Cheer

I wish you a joyous, peaceful and tranquil holiday season.
With all of 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 their own creative ideas for activities, bring out 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 to understand the dangers to their 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: 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 some greenery at home. Be a paper-saver. These are only a few 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 activity would be for children to clean out their
closets of clothes and toys they no longer need. These items could then be given to homeless or other needy people.

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 ahead to have a high school student available to help you when you need a break. The student can play all those games the children received for Christmas relieving 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. It also makes it less
likely that you will resort to permitting, maybe even
encouraging, the children to watch television because they are too noisy and obstreperous. This is okay if your sanity is at stake but it may not be necessary to resort to this passive activity if you have gathered all of your resources together before the holiday begins. Remember this time with your children will not last forever. Enjoy it while you can. 

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