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How to Keep Elementary-Aged Kids Happy and Engaged During the Christmas Vacation

by Editorial Team | December 14th, 2016 | Elementary

christmas presentsAnyone with kids can tell you that they seem to have limitless reserves of energy. Although we love having our children home for the holidays, it can be a challenge to find ways to keep them occupied and happy when there are so many other things to organize and deal with. Buying gifts, decorating the house, preparing food, and entertaining the relatives is quite enough to handle without restless children adding their own special brand of wonderful, but chaotic, energy to the mix. Rather than spending the holiday season in a state of stress with frayed nerves making you snap at your kids, make plans to keep them engaged and happy while they’re out of school.

Keep them active

Recent studies have found that 39% of boys and 58% of girls aged 7-18 don’t reach the recommended level of exercise – which is around an hour each day doing something moderately physically active. If you’re lucky enough to have a big yard, bundle them up and instigate a game of soccer or baseball to get rid of some of that excess energy. Alternatively, go for a long winter walk, either in the surrounding countryside or instead of taking the car to get shopping or run errands. A change of scenery can work wonders too!

Host a Christmas party

Setting events other than the festivities of Christmas day itself can really help to break up the holiday period. Why not schedule in a fabulous Christmas party, either for just your kids and their friends, or for a mix of ages including your own peers? You can hand preparations and plans over to the children and get them creating decorations, invitations, and even simple food to keep them feeling purposeful, and give them something concrete to look forward to.

Encourage creativity

Too often, the festive season can get overtaken by the mania of consumerism and material possessions. Re-imagine Christmas by getting your kids to make their gifts and cards for family members or friends. Not only will it save on money and give them a focus for their time, creativity has boundless benefits for the development of the brain and emotional feedback systems.

Be charitable

Another way to take children’s focus away from receiving gifts on Christmas morning is to get them involved in helping those less fortunate than themselves. Gather together a group of kids and neighbors to go caroling one evening – hand the program, as well as organizing the practice sessions, over to the children (don’t underestimate their resourcefulness when they’re encouraged and challenged!) You could also volunteer together at a soup kitchen, or get the kids to clear out their old toys and belongings to donate to a charity, or as a garage sale with proceeds towards something worthwhile.

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