Having a new baby in the home at the holidays is always exciting. Here’s a parenting tip that will help you and your baby truly enjoy this special time of year.
* See everything through the eyes of a child.
Honestly, that’s the secret to the holiday season. Don’t be fooled by the simplicity of this parenting tip. After 26 years of parenting and 4 children, I can tell you, we adults have forgotten how to do this!
Our kids can help us remember these things. For starters, one thing they teach us is that the holidays are not about hecticness, buying stuff, getting gifts, making cookies, sending cards or doing a marathon of activities.
The holidays are about experiencing connection and nobody does that better than a little child. Even babies understand this concept beautifully.
No other time of the year is so perfectly filled with sensory overload. Your child is programmed to tune into this. When you plan your holiday activities, keep your little one in mind. Look for things you can do together.
And keep it simple. Here are some ideas you might try with your child.
— Sledding down a (tiny) hill.
— Looking at the beautiful holiday lights in your neighborhood.
— Listening to carolers sing.
— Dancing to holiday music.
— Going to a shopping mall and watching the other shoppers and children.
— Taking a first peek at Santa Claus.
— Turning off the room lights, lying on your floor together and simply enjoying your lovely Christmas tree.
— Enjoying a (age-appropriate) first bite of a holiday treat.
— Catching snowflakes on your tongue.
Also consider your holiday decorating. Keep the decor that’s down low within your little one’s reach safe and fun.
– purchase (or make) simple fabric decorations (we have enjoyed a stuffed fabric nativity for years in our home).
– dress up a group of teddy bears or cloth dolls in holiday finery.
– put together a holiday zoo filled with stuffed critters that can be hugged and played with again and again.
– fill a basket with cloth or plastic balls in holiday colors.
You get the point. Make sure your decorations are things that you and your child can enjoy together, instead of a lot of beautiful baubles your baby can’t touch. Babies and toddlers learn much about their world through their mouths and fingers. There will always be many things your baby *cannot* touch. Make sure you have available plenty of items your baby *can* touch.
A holiday parenting tip would not be complete without considering what seasonal traditions you want to establish in your own home. Do you have a faith tradition you want to pass on to your child? Did your own childhood family have a tradition you remember warmly? Think about what you would like your child to carry with her into adulthood someday from her childhood holidays and start making those memories this year.
See the holidays as your precious child sees them, with delight and wonder. A sense of curiosity. And much enjoyment. You’ll be pleasantly surprised at how much you will enjoy the season when you allow yourself to experience it through the eyes of your child.
And, at least once, fall asleep together listening to “Silent Night” or your favorite holiday music.