The following is a post by contributing writer Tabitha
Preschool learning is constant. It can be difficult, not so much because little ones are not wanting to learn, but because they have so much energy it is difficult to channel it in the right direction! This is also true through the holidays where your schedule may be off, things are different, and there is an overall sense of excitement. Preschoolers can’t help but be further energized by it all.
So, during this time of crazy schedules, concerts, visits, treats, activities, and other adventures, how can our little ones enjoy all that’s going on around them and keep on learning, too?
experiencing surviving many holidays while homeschooling with preschoolers, I can attest to the fact that learning will take place, and you can have peace during the holidays, too. There may be setbacks and meltdowns, but with a little planning, even these will be all right. Here are some of my survival strategies.
Keep the Craziness to a Minimum
Don’t say yes to everything. You don’t have to hit every playgroup party, church gathering, holiday concert, and other event that takes place. Make a list of what you absolutely can’t miss, and keep your doings to that.
Holiday burnout isn’t just for adults. Your child will be happier to sit through their older brother’s band concert if they haven’t been to three other evening events plus a party that week.
Limiting your activities aids their learning. It allows them to slow down and relate what they are learning away from home to their secure place which is home. They can go and be crazy with sweets, games, coloring, presents, and then come home and remember.
One on One Learning Time
Related to the first strategy, your child needs some one-on-one time with a parent (sometimes an older sibling works). Keep some holiday traditions going like a favorite story, making cookies, or playing with a special holiday toy.
Every family time doesn’t have to be a big production. You can carry on some of your lasting traditions with just your preschooler. Remember what you did when your oldest was small. Try to take some time to make those memories with your smallest one now. If your smallest is your only, enjoy it because they won’t always want this special time with you!
One-on-one time helps their learning because they can have a sense of belonging reinforced as they learn stories, traditions, and even math and cooking with you. It really helped when I tried to look at this funny time of year through my little one’s eyes. What confusion there was in our house! But with a little help from mom or an older family member, they can take things a little slower and go at their own pace.
Enjoy the Ride
When all is said and done, the holidays are a great time to sit back and see what our kids have learned. The older kids sometimes need a break, but the little ones keep right on learning. They are still playing and learning about the world around them in many ways, and as the holidays explode into their routine, it can be a little frightening. But if we keep watch and keep things smooth for them, they will have wonderful early memories of this time.
Make sure you have child friendly decorations and activities so they can be a part of the fun of the holidays. Plan ahead so you know what they can safely enjoy.
Then your preschooler will learn to love family traditions will want to share what they love with those around them.
Isn’t that what we all want with the holidays?
Hopefully we can learn about our traditions, holidays, and families through our little ones eyes as we take the time to help them experience the best of this special time of year. Enjoy!