5 Tips for Making It Graciously Through the Holidays With Your Preschooler
The holidays are here—something that no department, commercial, or grocery store is likely to let you forget.
With the holidays comes time spent with family, over-indulging, and yes—you guessed it—gifts.
Unfortunately, while this season is filled with cheer and happiness, it’s also filled with young children who don’t really understanding the meaning behind the holiday.
No matter what you believe, or how you celebrate, there’s always room to help your child learn to be gracious throughout the season.
Even if your child has the basics down, and they happen to say “please” and “thank you” whenever necessary, there’s still a lot to be learned.
With their growing minds and developing personalities it’s easy for gratitude to be lost in the shuffle.
Check out these five tips for making it through the holiday season with grace, and how to help your preschooler be appreciative.
Maybe the simplest way to help your child learn to appreciate the holidays more, is to volunteer somewhere with you. It’s never too early to help your child see the importance of giving their time freely to those in need. Collect blankets for the homeless, take a
trip to a children’s hospital, or sing Christmas carols at an old folk’s home. In any case, help your child understand that some people are not as fortunate as they are. Some have to spend their holidays away from their family and without the added benefit of gifts or fancy food. Starting this tradition early on will help establish a sense of giving and gratefulness within your child, during their most formative years.
Thank You Cards
An easy way to help your child learn to appreciate their gifts is to have them acknowledge who it is that gave it to them. When gifts are nameless and not attached to a specific person, it makes it easier for preschoolers to not care about who got it for them. Especially when the recipient is not present, it is easy for children to believe that they are receiving gifts without a person behind them. Having your preschooler write thank you cards will help them understand that their gift came from someone and was not handed over to them for no reason. Help your child complete thank you cards as soon after the holiday as possible. This way, there is not too much time between the gift giving and the thanking, helping your kids form the connection and strengthen their gratefulness.
Slow Down With Present Opening
It’s easy on Christmas morning to let your preschoolers zip through their gifts as quickly as possible. Even as adults it’s hard not to just zoom through everything and have fun with the moment. However, doing so only reinforces the idea in your child that their gifts are not something to be cherished, but only something to be rushed through. Help your children appreciate the moment by taking the time to open gifts. Start with the stockings and move on from there, allowing each family member to open a gift in turn. This way, your child will learn to savor the experience, rather than rush through it. Also, if you’re opening gifts with family around, help your child remember to say “thank you” to those members who have given them a gift. They should still write a thank you card, but thanking them immediately teaches them to appreciate what they have.
Open Up A Discussion
Not everyone celebrates the holidays equally. Aside from there being multiple religions, there is also a gap between families and their gifts. Open up a discussion with your child to help them understand that they should not be overzealous when discussing their gifts with others. Also, help them realize that not everyone is going to be blessed in the way they might be and that they should take the time to be grateful for what they do have. While your preschooler might not fully understand what you’re saying, they may actually ask you a question, which gives an opportunity to keep your discussion going.
The Dangers of Expecting
Maybe the biggest problem and common frustration with Christmas, is children expecting things and becoming upset when they don’t get them. Help your child understand that their gifts are just that: gifts. They are something that is being given out of the goodness and love in another’s heart, meaning they should be thankful for whatever it is they are given. Talk to them beforehand about the dangers of expecting things, and help them understand that they should always say thank you and be gracious for whatever it is they are given.