5 ways to involve children in holiday traditions

By Emily Singleton

The holiday season is a time for parents to celebrate the magic and excitement of the holidays with their children. Part of this is about taking the traditions from your past and creating new ones with your children. During the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, sometimes we focus a lot of our energy on gift-buying for our little ones, but the things that will build your relationship with your children are the times you spend together. Here are some fun ways to connect with your little ones this holiday season.

Ask your children for help decorating

Paper chains, banners and ornaments are just a few crafts that can be adapted for various age groups. There are tons of craft projects with instructions on the internet, so look for ones that everyone can work on. Don’t feel like they have to come out perfect — the important part is the time spent together, not the finished product.

Share stories and books that reflect your cultural traditions as well as others

Libraries are a great place to learn more about holiday traditions from your own culture as well as other countries, cultures and belief systems. Stories don’t just come from books though — share stories from your childhood with your children. It can be as simple as telling about the first time you made a holiday dish, a holiday travel story or telling about a childhood gift you gave or received.

Involve little ones in the kitchen

Food is a major part of all holiday celebrations. Little ones can help out too! Give them tasks that they can handle, like measuring, pouring in or mixing up some ingredients, washing veggies, or shaping dough. Your child’s age will guide their involvement.

Sing-alongs and caroling

This one is not about how well you sing, it’s about singing together. Sharing songs from your culture or popular holiday songs that you like is a fun way to get kids involved and create holiday memories. Ask grandparents or other family members to share their favorite holiday songs and teach them to your children. You can even record clips of your kids singing and send them to friends and relatives for virtual caroling.

Make holiday cards

Little ones love the idea of sending out cards to people they know. Let them draw or sign their names in holiday cards. They can also be involved by taking them to the mailbox. This helps them feel connected with loved ones far away.

Traditions can be flexible and they will change as your children grow older. The most important tradition at the holidays is enjoying the moments spent together with family and friends.

Emily Singleton is the senior program manager of Parent Partners Plus at Southwest Human Development. This article was originally published by Raising Arizona Kids Magazine here.