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

Advance Planning for a Season of Joy and Peace

The Christmas season is here.  It takes advance planning  to

make it a season of peace and joy for your family.  Here are some

suggestions.
The  first thing to consider is the toys you choose to  give

your  children.   There is no place in this  season  for  violent

toys.   Simply  refuse to buy them.  You might  also  inform  the

storeowner  why  you  are not buying these  toys.   He  might  be

influenced  by you not to stock them.  Inform your children  well

in  advance  that that is the policy in your family in  order  to

avoid  disappointment,  tears and whining.  Do not be  swayed  by

being told that Johnny’s mother buys him those toys.  Say you are

not responsible for what Johnny or his mother chooses to do.  You

are  only responsible for what you choose to do.  And you  choose

to  support a violence-free home.   Saying these sentences  early

avoids a great deal of conflict later in the season.
Buy  toys  that  are children’s  toys  and  not  scaled-down

versions  of adults’.  Children are being treated like  miniature

adults.   Their clothing is the same, their entertainment is  the

same and their games and toys are the same.  Extreme examples  of

this  trend  are some of the dolls, their clothing, and  all  the

accouterments  that  go  with them.  These  dolls  are  miniature

adults.   Children  can only play with them as though  they  were

adults not children.  Boys have the same version in the toys that

represent  soldiers  and other adult figures.  Try to  find  toys
that  represent  the world of childhood and  fantasy,  and  make-

believe.
Buy toys that stretch the creative imagination of  children.

These  are the toys that are not made for one purpose  but  those

that can be made into many different things.  The only limitation

is  the child’s imagination.  A swing can only be used  one  way.

The same can be said for a sliding board.  Whereas, large tunnels

or  circles can be a cave, a space ship, a train, a house and  on

and  on.   What  it is changes every day and  keeps  the  child’s

interest  and imagination alive.  Even buying a toy house is  not

as creative as getting orange crates and making them into houses.

All  the  child  needs is wall paper and  rug  samples,  popsicle

sticks to make furniture, old magazines to make people and so on.

They  can  continue  adding and changing this  house  long  after

Christmas  is over.  The store-brought house, on the other  hand,

is static and limited and loses interest.

Do not forget large building blocks and legos for both  boys

and  girls.  There are also many new creative board games on  the

market  which  can  be  fun  for  the  whole  family.   Read  the

directions carefully to determine if the game is appropriate  for

your family’s values.
The next thing to consider are the gifts husbands and  wives

give  to each other.  You need to show a little  imagination  and

consideration  here.   Husbands  should  not  give  their   wives

presents  like irons, coffee makers, vacuum cleaners, dishes  and

so forth to their wives.  These are presents for a house not  for

a  person.  Rather, try giving a negligee, perfume,  or  jewelry.

The  same thing applies to wives giving gifts to husbands.   Give

them  something for themselves like golf clubs, jewelry,  sweater

and so forth.  Do not give a lawn mower or anything else for  the

house.   If  it is very difficult to figure out what  to  give  a

spouse, the best strategy is to ask rather than to try to  guess.

If you guess wrong, your spouse might feel you really do not know

or understand him or her very well and be very disappointed.  Or,

another scenario is that the spouse is afraid to say he or she is

disappointed and winds up keeping an unwelcomed, and, at times, a

very expensive gift.
Good planning makes for a happier holiday.  I hope yours  is

peaceful and joyful.

Posted in Behavior, From Experience, Getting the Most For Your Child, Parenting, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

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