Are your kids home from school this holiday season? Do you have time off? In-laws, parents, siblings, or cousins in town? Whether you have family in from out of town or it’s just your little family at home, make sure you spend dedicated time together as a family and one-on-one.
An hour a day that you all share doing something you wouldn’t typically do as a family during a regular day, like play a family game, go ice skating, or for a drive in the city or through the countryside, volunteer for a day with a local organization, or even have a family karaoke party. Try to make the holiday time you spend as a family special. Using any additional spare hours or even minutes that you have to also spend one-on-one time with your individual children will help to make them feel special and deepen your relationship (in addition to creating everlasting memories).
If you have relatives in from out-of-town, discuss in advance some activities they might like to do with your children. And, in turn, ask your children how they would like to spend time with their grandparent/aunt/uncle. Perhaps they want to drive by important landmarks in their life, like their school, playground, etc. to show off the places they go in a typical day. It is also good to have a special activity planned in advance, like a movie, lunch date, day trip, tickets to a concert or play, or something that both your child and their relative(s) can enjoy together.
For younger relations, set up activity kits in advance. In case of a rain or snow day, you can open a gift-wrapped “mystery box” that contains items from the dollar store like crayons, markers, paint, glue, paper, and other miscellaneous craft supplies. Or, mix it up with some small plastic animals and other fun objects that kids can imagine into something else entirely.
Having games on hand is also helpful. Though most children will come up with activities and games to play with their cousins on their own, they might occasionally run out of ideas, so the activity kits and a list of “Adventures to Do With Cousins” can help fill in the rest of their time together.
While you bond with your children and your relatives, don’t forget that it’s important to spend time with your partner as well. Make plans for a special date night. Or, if it’s possible, arrange for your child to have a sleepover at their grandparent’s house or a friend’s house so that you can have an evening alone at home together. Whatever touches you can add (whether it’s making a favorite meal, a dinner out at a restaurant you’ve been meaning to try, or something else entirely) will help make this extra time more special and meaningful to you both and allow for the chance to reconnect as a couple.
Though the holiday season can sometimes be a bit tense and overwhelming, making an effort to arrange different configurations of time with the ones you love — and mixing it up by doing special things that don’t make their way into your daily routine as a family — will allow for bonding to happen and memories to be made. Slowing down, checking in with each other, and spending quality time as a family, extended family, or simply as a couple, are what the season is really all about.
Copywritten by Jo Frost