The anticipation of Christmas is now at its peak—many of us are running around with the tick, tick, tick of to do lists in our head. We are swamped with advertising, and our children are starting to become overwhelmed by the excitement of it all. It is the season of giving, of hope, of drawing close to our nearest and dearest. In the run up to that, however, it can seem like the season of I want, I want, I want and for parents the season of I just can’t do enough. We want it to be perfect, to be magical, but that can create a huge amount of pressure that even the most accomplished of list tickers can’t achieve.
While every parent loves to see their child’s delight as they open the perfect gift, it’s important that we make sure we take some time to focus on the deeper meaning behind the holidays. This will help protect the family’s sanity (and bank balance) and give children the chance to develop important traits such as compassion and generosity.
- Manage Your Child’s Expectations from the Start
Make sure that your child knows that a Santa list is a wish list—it doesn’t mean that Santa will bring them everything. Start a conversation about what your child really wants and why—this will help them figure out those things that are important to them.
- Involve Your Child in Choosing Gifts and Making Cards for Special People
Creating something special or choosing a thoughtful gift gives children the chance to experience the real happiness that giving can bring. Talk to your child about what would please people in their lives and how much fun it will be to surprise them with something special.
- Let Your Child Give Something Back
Whether this is giving money to charity, participating in a toy appeal, visiting neighbours or giving your time to support a good cause, let your child understand that they are part of a wider family and community and that they have important contributions to make.
- Create Traditions Together
We all have an image in our head of what a perfect Christmas should be like—often, these images are very similar to the ones in the ads on television. Try to develop some traditions that are special to you and your family, whether it’s an evening family walk to admire the lights, a special breakfast you must have every year or a silly game you all play after dinner. Let your child contribute to this and it will be all the more special.