Keeping kids engaged over the holidays

December 2, 2020
PHOTO: Getty Images

2020 has been a challenging year and many of us are looking forward to the cheer the holidays bring. Now that the fall semester of school is winding down, kids may be inclined to hang out in their rooms, watch TV or play on electronic devices. As parents, we know kids had plenty of that with the extended Spring Break and summer this year! Below are some ways to keep children’s minds and bodies engaged in learning while having fun and bonding as a family this holiday season.

Holiday decorating

It is important to keep kids engaged – physically and mentally. One way to do this is to have them help you decorate. Encourage them to get creative!

Make salt dough ornaments with your kids. Allow them to design and decorate their ornament. Make extra ornaments for family members or friends and organize a drive by ornament exchange among friends. Seeing their work and sharing with others gets kids into the holiday spirit.

Getting kids outside to help put up lights and yard décor is a great option to promote physical activity.  Tap into their creative minds and get them to help with planning where things will go. Give them a measuring tape and let them measure spaces to figure out how many strands of lights you will need. This will improve their spatial awareness, math and critical thinking skills. As you are putting up decorations, make a game of it and have yard races, do jumping jacks or lunges. Keeping kids physically active is great for their physical and emotional health!

Kids in the kitchen

Let your kids help plan a healthy meal. Talk about the food groups and making healthy choices. Maybe try some new flavors or food from other cultures. Give kids a budget for the meal, let them shop online for the ingredients and have fun whipping up your creations in the kitchen. This activity keeps kids engaged in reading, as they look for and follow recipes.

Tap into their math skills when balancing the meal budget and preparing the meal. Have kids double or cut recipes in half. This is a great way to promote problem solving and engage the brain! Measuring and stirring promote motor skills for little ones. Let your child be in charge and give everyone a job. Allowing them to take charge can help develop communication, problem solving and negotiation skills.

Family game night on FaceTime or Zoom

If you are missing spending time with family members, have a game night on Zoom. Pictionary, Scattergories, charades, hangman and tic-tac-toe are great games to play over video platforms. This may be a great option for kids to see and interact with grandparents or relatives that live far away.

This holiday season may look a little different as we continue to maintain social distancing and avoid celebratory gatherings, but different does not have to be a bad thing! Embrace the time spent with your immediate family and engage with your children. Whatever activities you choose to do with your family this holiday season, enjoy spending quality time together and build memories that will last a lifetime. 

Post by:

Shelly Nalbone, APRN, CPNP, IBCLC

Shelly provides appointments for children with routine and minor illnesses and breastfeeding counseling appointments for mothers and babies. She also works closely with the pediatrician team to ensure that all patients receive excellent care and service. 

Shelly believes that parents are...

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