We all do it, we promise ourselves that this year we won’t get wrapped up in the holiday chaos. This year, we will slow down, teach our children about the holiday spirit and the joy in giving, and we will spend more time together as a family. Before we know it, we’re consumed with parties, buying gifts, baking, creating the perfect Christmas card, traveling, more baking, more parties, more gifts… and next thing we know, the New Year has arrived and we’re making a resolution that next year, will be the year of peace.
The good news, is that with a little plan, and age-appropriate activities, it’s easy to begin instilling the spirit of Christmas in our toddlers – all while having fun as a family! Here’s a few ideas to help you get started:
1) Read a meaningful Christmas Story – There are plenty of books about Santa and toys, but there are also great books about the meaning of Christmas that your toddler will find equally as exciting. For example, The Christmas Story by Jane Werner Watson tells the traditional story in a child-friendly, illustrated way. Tell Me The Christmas Story by Joni Walker takes a different approach by connecting the spirit of Christmas to everything around us.
2) Charity giving – Toddlers love to help! Tell them a little bit about the charity you are giving to, and let them pick out the toy or the food for the child/family in need. Then let them help you deliver the donated item(s). Be sure to praise them for being so good and how nice it was that they gave a present/food to the people in need – and how happy those people will be to receive this wonderful gift on Christmas! It will be a fun activity for your family and your toddler will begin to learn how good it feels to give to others.
3) Nativity Scene- If you have a nativity scene that your child can play with, use it to help teach them the Christmas story. They will enjoy playing with the people and the animals, while you teach them about the people, who they are, why they are there, etc.
Be sure to remind your children that the spirit of Christmas isn’t something that goes away in December. Your family can continue to spread joy, love, peace and happiness all throughout the year!