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Family Connections Montana

6 Tips to Prepare Young Children for the Holidays

With the holiday’s right around the corner, it’s a good idea to prepare your child for what is coming. Here are 6 tips to prepare for upcoming celebrations:

  1. Prompt conversations that will spark interest in the upcoming events. Take a walk downtown and look at the holiday decorations and window displays. Look at pictures of your family celebrating past holidays. Include them in the menu planning for the meal that will accompany the event.
  2. Create and establish your own traditions that will help usher in the upcoming event. For example, take a trip to pick out a tree or go shopping together for decorations or gifts. This is a perfect time to teach your child about generosity and the joys of giving.
  3. Provide concrete hands-on opportunities to cross off the days until the event. Using words like, “We will go visit grandma in eight more sleeps,” is easier for young children to understand than “Our holiday vacation starts on December 20th.” To help count down the days, blow up balloons and pop one each day until the event.
  4. Watch and listen carefully to your child for clues about his or her understanding of an approaching or past holidays. If your child scribbles on a paper and says is it a Christmas card for their teacher, you have a starting place for extending your child’s understanding of this holiday.
  5. Be prepared to celebrate the event long after it has passed. Children have a loose concept of time and the date on the calendar is an arbitrary one for them. Often they will pretend to “take down” decorations long after the big day has passed. Supporting your child in this continuing interest in the holiday will help them understand the occasion better.
  6. Most of all, understand that holidays and celebrations are big energy and excitement times and everyone could use a little more patience and understanding. Remember to focus in on the joy of the occasion and see it through their eyes and not our adult concept of the celebration.