Tips for parents

How to Keep Your Kids Engaged and Learning During the Holidays

During holidays, a parent or guardian must prepare the child to respect others and, where relevant, participate in community joints. Allowing the child to build relationships and networks at a young age is critical in their upbringing and adult life.
5 December 2022

Holidays bring a mood for celebration and communion with family, friends, neighbours, and the communities people associate with. Establishing activities to keep children lively and engaged outside the school environment is important. The parents or guardians must find activities that do not cram down their curiosity and creativity or easily wear them out. 


Celebrating the Holidays with Meaning

Significantly, the holiday should be a period where the child does not only focus on the self-absorbed attitude, e.g., the culture of Santa bringing desired gifts that accompany holidays but also focus on the relevance of the holiday on their overall well-being . Each holiday should educate the child on the traditional meaning of it and prepare them to treasure them for the long term.

Learning New Skills

Among the most important lessons to teach a child is to ensure that they learn a new skill. Today, there are a lot of materials that could guide a child in the very first steps of learning a new skill. Common skills include baking, lighting, gardening, new language, first-aid administration, public speaking, shopping, and washing and laundry . With the guidance of adults, children could be introduced to different platforms and enrolled in different classes while engaging them in practical roles in the home setting. For example, baking a cake or cookies may be started small with precautions to handle the heat, sharp utensils, and instruments or managing unique family recipes. In such cases, learning while doing comes in handy.

Encouraging Creativity and Experimentation

In addition, a child may be encouraged to make something for themselves besides the skills for the overall family activities. Common items include making a toy, riding a bicycle, mending torn clothes, sharpening pencils, drawing, and swimming. The theory of child development identifies that a child’s cognitive capability is shaped by the acts of casual learning and the ability to respond to the cues conveying information such as observation, attention to detail, expression, imitation, and experimentation . During the holiday, it is important that the child experiment and identify the magic in action while creating fun from such activities.

Fostering Community Spirit

Holidays are better when they incorporate a community aspect. Leading the child to understand their environment and the different elements that shape their society is key to their development. One way to do so is to lead a child to learn something that helps others. Here, the simple acts of gifting or helping the elderly with groceries should not be the focus. Rather, a parent/guardian must lead their child in dedicating their time or energy to a community mentality, with a focus on responsibility, volunteering, accountability seeking, transparency, ownership, a sense of belonging, and social concern . For example, allowing the child to express their view or concern in a library or a public participation forum instils a sense of responsibility for the overall good. During holidays, a parent or guardian must prepare the child to respect others and, where relevant, participate in community joints. Allowing the child to build relationships and networks at a young age is critical in their upbringing and adult life.

The Importance of Play and Outdoor Activities

Since children are playful, creating time for games and sports is important during the holiday. A parent must intensify the child’s preferred games and encourage them to explore others out of their comfort zones. One way to do so is by playing together – both the parents and the child. For games to be rewarding, the focus must not be on competition but on the fun. Commanding efforts for an achievement made encourages further exploration. Where possible, the parent may as well design the game themselves (particularly with board games). Outdoor activities also widen the child’s experience during the holiday. Outside their home, the environment allows the child to explore the natural world, meet new people, and improve their thinking capability. The family’s bond is also strengthened.

In conclusion, despite the need to develop the child and have fun with them, the child’s sense of self must not be compromised. While keeping some routines, such as snack time or games time, paying attention to the items that make a child feel comfortable and in the holiday mood is important. Lengthy conversations or community parties with no other children may be more frustrating than a benefit. It is, therefore, important to customise activities to fit the child’s needs.

Further readings:

  1. “10 Fun and Educational Holiday Activities for Kids” by Today’s Parent
  2. “The Importance of Community Service for Kids” by Parents Magazine
  3. “The Value of Play for Learning” by The National Association for the Education of Young Children
  4. “The Benefits of Outdoor Play for Kids” by Active for Life