The Christmas Holidays are long anticipated by kids and parents alike. This is the first year (ever, as a person in the workforce) that I actually get a full two week vacation that corresponds with my girls being off school. I am unbelievably excited to get this time off to spend relaxing and enjoying my family. I want to make sure my girls enjoying being home for Christmas break as well.
Something I realized while looking at the calendar: Christmas happens right away, and then there are untold days to fill until it’s back to the work and school routine. While this seems exciting, I’m sure there will be days when I hear “I’m bored!” or “I have NOTHING to do…” I want to be sure I can enjoy being home with my kids over Christmas break.
With my girls now being pre-teens, tweens, whatever phrase you’d like to use, I’ve come up with a few ideas to help keep us entertained through what has the potential to be a long week-and-a half. I want to be sure I can enjoy being home with my kids over Christmas break.
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Six ways to enjoy being home with your kids over Christmas Holidays (even if they’re tweens)
I know this is not fun, but these “free” days are a great time to get on top of some deeper-cleaning work you may not make time for during your busy work weeks. Roping the kids in means a little less work for you, and some life skill development for them.
I think I’m pretty lucky that my girls want to help out a lot around the house. Introducing new chores is actually fun for them, and sometimes they offer to do them on their own time – which amazes me every time!
Don’t spend all your holidays doing housework though. And be sure to reward hard work with something fun – dinner out, a favourite movie evening, or something else your kids will enjoy.
Hear me out – at home, with no pressure, is a great way to work on any skills your kids may need to further develop. This break is great for some catch up.
Emma and I will be working on multiplication tables, and Rose is just starting to learn about multiplying, so we’ll find a few free worksheets or activities that can help them both learn.
Another activity my girls are interested in is learning cursive writing. Again, I search for worksheets online and print some off for practice.
I get my math worksheets here.
Whatever learning stages you’re in, you can usually find sheets online for practice. Make it fun by offering rewards or timing who can get done first (age/skill appropriate, of course!)
Teach useful skills
As your kids get older, real life skills get more important. A skill we need Rose to get ahold of is tying shoelaces. She has the idea, and can do it if she has all the time in the world, but in the rush of getting out the door, we still need to tie her shoes for her.
Another skill we are working on with Emma is sewing. For her birthday she got a My First Sewing type kit. She can make a few stuffed animals with basic hand sewing skills. She has expressed an interest in making clothes for her dolls and perhaps learning how to use a sewing machine. We don’t have a sewing machine, so this skill will have to wait.
Cook and Bake with them
Cook with your children at a more leisurely pace. I know when I’m rushing home from work, throwing something together to eat, then running back out the door, I don’t explain what I’m doing – I often just bark at them to stir the sauce!
Take the time – if they’re old enough – to explain why you chose this size of pot, or why you need to stir ‘this’ often, but ‘that’ less frequently. When we understand the Why it’s easier to manage the How – or at least in my experience. And I want my girls to be comfortable cooking for themselves when they need to.
Did you get baking done before Christmas? If not, do some now! Baking is generally easier than cooking because there are no hot pots (usually) so they can do most of the measuring, stirring, and portioning onto cookie sheets (or cake pans) with minimal supervision.
Related: Holiday Baking Recipes Roundup 2019
Play games and do puzzles
One of my daughters is forever asking to play board games together. I love board games, but I rarely make the time to play with her. Now is that time – the slower days of the Christmas Holidays means we can increase the quality time we spend with our children.
Sometimes we’ll start a puzzle, and leave it out to work on whenever we have quiet moments. (This is all well and good, but it takes up a good portion of either my only floor space or my dining table.) Often we do them all in one sitting, because we’re still into kids puzzles – for now.
Make the time to actually play with your kids – these are the memories they (and you) will treasure as they get older.
Winter can be cold and miserable, but it can also be fun to get out and enjoy the wonder of the season.
If you live where there’s snow, go out and enjoy it! Build a snowman with your kids, find a skating rink and try not to fall down too often, or just go for a hike in the leaf-less forest and look for animal tracks.
Getting outside isn’t as much of a chore when your kids are pre-teens – they can get all their gear on now with minimal help. Even if you’re only out for half an hour, coming back in and cuddling up with a movie and hot chocolate feels extra special.
What do you do to enjoy being home with your kids over Christmas break? Share your plans with me in the comments – I love hearing what you get up to!
For those of you local to me, check out Things to do in Kingston in the winter. I share some ideas for enjoying the season once the rush of Christmas is past.
I realize not everyone has the luxury of two weeks off. Perhaps you can fit some of these things into the time you do get to spend together. A few extra days at home, or with family, can allow you to create these memorable moments with your children.