Winter vacation is just around the corner, which means trying to keep your kids on their best behavior even when the boredom sets in. This can be challenging whether you’re traveling or waiting out the cold days in the house. There are a few ways that you can keep your children on Santa’s nice list though, without getting in the way of their holiday fun too much. These ten tips will give you a few ways to remind them of their behavior, while encouraging good deeds without the reward they feel Santa brings. So, this holiday, you won’t have to worry about your kids getting too crazy as these tips will help keep everyone feeling happy during the holiday season.
1. Elf on the Shelf
Many parents aren’t excited about the Elf on the Shelf concept, because they feel as if it is teaching their children that it is okay to be spied on. However, Elf on the Shelf can be a whole lot of fun without the spying aspect. You don’t have to approach the Elf on the Shelf as a tool for your children to stay on their best behavior. Rather, you don’t have to tell your children that the elf is monitoring their poor behavior at all. Instead, tell them the elf likes to tell Santa about all of the good things that they do. You might even explain it as the elf is measuring or collecting Christmas spirit in each home. This should help encourage children to want to do good deeds and to avoid doing bad things without feeling nervous. Plus, the Elf on the Shelf can be a whole lot of fun for parents as it allows them to embrace creativity in new ways. If you want a few ideas then there’s lots of great ones online to try out with your children. You might even encourage your children to make gifts, clothing or accessories for their elf to raise holiday spirit and to ease some of the boredom of winter break.
2. Donate Old Toys
If your child has a pretty long holiday list, they already have too many things, or you know you have limited space, then now is a great time to encourage your children to donate some of their old toys. During this time, thrift stores and other charities could always use toys to pass out to children in need. So, in order for your children to make room for new items they can sift through the stuff they don’t use anymore. They don’t have to get rid of sentimental items, but they might want to give away items that haven’t been played with in months. You might sit down and explain that not all children are fortunate enough to get lots of gifts, so by giving away toys they will be adding holiday magic to the children who won’t get a lot.
3. Offer Rewards
Another way to avoid your children hitting the naughty list is to offer them rewards that aren’t presents. Toys and other items will be forgotten over time. So, one way to make your child feel good about the deeds they’ve done is to offer a certificate. This can be hung up throughout the year to remind your child how amazing it feels to do good. You don’t have to wait for Christmas morning for children to receive such a reward either. Instead, you can easily mail a special letter from Santa that shows appreciation for their good behavior and offers recognition for some of the good behaviors your child exhibited throughout the year. For instance, you can offer a reward for a good attitude or keeping up with chores. Children will take more pride in their behavior and will work hard to show the best of their personality.
4. Good Deeds Chart
Helping your children get in the habit of doing good deeds is always a great thing to do no matter the time of the year. However, during winter vacation, you might want to encourage this behavior to keep your children busy. One way to help kids keep track of their deeds is to make a chart of nice things they can do. For instance, you can come up with some great ideas for the household. Chores that help out others like helping a younger sibling with a task or even simply reading to them can be one of the easiest ways to start your children off. After they get the hang of things, you can add deeds that are outside of the home. A good example is to have them help out a grandparent with household chores. You can even expand with community projects like cleaning up trash in the park. Younger children can even take part by offering hugs.
5. Get Crafty
Making crafts is one of the best ways to keep kids busy during the winter break. Not only does it keep children busy, but it also allows them to keep their minds going when they’re not in school. Creativity is a great way to teach children to think out of the box and can improve holiday cheer. One way to enjoy crafts with kids is to come up with holiday themed crafts. Ornaments are a fun way to start and will make your tree look amazing. You can even make them out of recycled items like toilet paper rolls if you want to save even more money. Another fun idea is to make wreath, which can easily be done with tutorials. These wreaths can even be passed out to nursing homes, hospitals and more. Apart from that, you can have the children work on holiday cards to send to loved ones.
6. Santa Letter
If your child seems to be having a hard time staying on track, then you might want to consider sending them a letter from Santa Claus. You can download fonts that will make the letter look more authentic, which will help your children feel the magic of the season. In the letter, you should offer words of encouragement, rather than using Santa Claus as a threat. You might tell your children they have worked very hard in one manner, but Santa would encourage them to work harder in another area. You should also send praise so that the letter doesn’t feel negative. This will inspire kids to work harder. You don’t have to base your letter around holiday themes either. Instead, concentrate on the important areas like overall behavior or school work.
7. Monitor Screen Time
Keeping track of your child’s screen time is important all year long, but during the holidays you can really encourage good behavior by only allowing children to watch certain shows. There are many cartoons and children’s shows to choose from now; however, not all of them will offer your children moral reinforcements. There are an abundance of shows designed to encourage empathy, compassion and emotional health though. These shows can help children realize there is more to life than materialism, which will actually help the holiday season become even more meaningful for them. You will see your child’s outlook change and their willingness to behave and help others will increase.
8. Teach About Traditions
You don’t have to spend all winter break working on celebrating your own religious holidays. Although this an important and fun aspect of your lifestyle, teaching children about other cultures and traditions can be an important way to cultivate acceptance and compassion. There are many holidays around this time of the year, so pick out a few to share with your children. Of course, if you don’t want to work with other religions you can actually teach holiday traditions from around the world. Every culture has their own way of celebrating, which can be interesting. For instance, in Germany, a pickle is hidden in the tree and the first person to find it gets to open the first gift. In some Scandinavian countries, a book is opened on Christmas Eve and the rest of the day is spent reading. You can find so many fun customs online. You might even incorporate a few into your own holiday celebration.
9. Donate Time
One of the best things to do to keep children on their best behavior while showing them that good deeds are important is to help them donate their time. During this time of the year lots of organizations are in need of help. Churches, for instance, do a lot of work to help feed the hungry and to offer clothes and gifts. Some churches also have special youth groups that go caroling to help cheer up those in nursing homes or hospitals. Visiting nursing homes and hospitals are another way to give back. Teenagers may even be able to volunteer to help share the holiday spirit. These activities help children realize that the holidays are more than just gifts, which is a great lesson to learn.
10. Create a Schedule
If you’re trying to keep your children’s behavior in check then one of the best things to do is set up a schedule to follow during winter vacation. When school is in session, most children fall into the routine and thus don’t know how to behave. However, when their schedule is taken away there is a sense of anxiety and boredom. So, one of your best tools is to actually keep the kids going on a routine that is as close as possible to what they were doing in school. This might mean no late mornings in bed for you, but you will be grateful for their good behavior because of the routine. You might also schedule activities that ensure children use their brains so that easing back into school won’t be as much of a challenge.
Winter vacation can be a real challenge for children. Life can get pretty chaotic with new activities and a sudden change in their routine. This can lead to poor behavior which could land children on the naughty list. These ten ideas can help you keep your children on track while bringing more meaning to the holiday season.