Christmas Break – Naughty or Nice?

After posting a status update on facebook one of our Smarter Moms, Shanta, suggested that I list things out a bit more…so here goes:

When it comes to winter break we have a choice.  We can see our children as naughty irritations or as nice people with the potential to make our day fantastic.  We just have to change our mindset a little bit because now we have all our normal, daily responsibilities plus all the extra things that come with holiday and family events.  The most important thing to remember is that our kids have gone from fairly consistent routines to a ton of free-time.  This is NOT an easy transition for their minds, bodies or spirits – we have to help them! 

We have to resist the desire to sit the kids in front of the TV or leave them to their own devices.  We have to interact with them BEFORE they start fussing at each other – giving them structure helps them feel relaxed and joyful instead of anxious and bored.

For each day during break try to plan a goal and a game.  Don’t reinvent the wheel, just look around the house and use the resources you already have.  A couple of weeks ago (BEFORE the boys were out of school) – I went through the house and took quick inventory of games, craft supplies and activities we already owned.  Many of these haven’t been touched since summer so they seem new to my guys.   I took out my calendar and wrote down a goal and a game for each day.  If we don’t finish things I’ll move it to the next day, but this flexible plan keeps me from feeling overwhelmed or exhausted from keeping people entertained.

DISCLAIMER: Having a plan doesn’t mean that everything will run perfectly all the time – you know your kids and their ability to tolerate free play versus structured activities – make plans that will HELP your day, not hurt it.  Some of the activities listed under games for each day rely heavily on the fact that we are members at an amazing gym.  This is an extra expense that tends to pay for itself during these winter days.  I get to stay healthy and I can get the boys out of the house and keep them active.  If you don’t have a gym just make up your own active games like obstacle courses around the house, relay races or anything that gets everyone moving!

Here are some quick notes I pulled out of my planner to share with you.  I’ve left out the details and notes I write for myself.  These are the days, goals and games I have planned for the next week…hopefully it will make sense 😮  I took some pictures over the last couple days too – I don’t just talk about this stuff – I live it – because without this sort of planning and preparation I would go crazy! 😮

MONDAY: goal = go through all our toys and put them into keep, give away and trash piles (hint: I tell the boys that all toys in the give away pile will remain in the pile for a day or two so they can play with all of the toys, if someone decides they really want to keep a toy and take it out of the give away pile that is fine.  By telling them the toys will be around for another day my guys are more willing to put things in that pile)  game = go swimming at the gym

TUESDAY: goal = take toys to donation center, game = board game of their choice, make puppets and puppet stage

WEDNESDAY: goal = make Christmas treats for family that is coming, game = play racquetball at gym, practice puppet show

THURSDAY: goal = wrap gifts for grandparents and family members (the boys picked out these gifts so I like for them to be the ones to wrap them), game = balloon fun (I have lots of games I play with balloons because balloons can break things and I can have lots off balloons in a little bit of time without a whole lot of effort – plus I can pop them and throw them away when we are done and no one cares) To see some other ideas see the post entitled “Rainy Day Play”

FRIDAY: goal and game = Enjoy grandparents, show them our puppet show, play games with Daddy and grandparents, try to keep real food (not just candy) in their bellies and get ready for the Christmas Eve service!!

 Here we are working on the puppet stage, some puppets we made and the boys trying their hand at putting on their show:




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