Early on, in my other life as a public school teacher, I realized how important home based projects are for kids and their families. As a designer for over 35 years, I have seen firsthand, how important a clean, organized and well-designed home is for children’s self-esteem and focus. What better time than the holidays for your home to be a special place for your family?
I think this time of the year brings out the kid in all of us. For a little while, even in these challenging times, we escape into a world of gift giving, holiday decorating and family gathering. Whatever holiday is celebrated, its home centered, and the sights and smells bring cheer to a cold winter season. For kids the holidays mean presents, school vacation, visits from family and a general sense of fun and anticipation. Parents and grandparents can add another dimension to kids’ perception and participation this holiday season.
Gift giving and receiving can be turned into a great “giving thanks” lesson by focusing on providing the less fortunate with outgrown articles. Winter vacation is a great time for organizing kids’ bedrooms – clothes, toys, books, school work, etc. As they give away, they make room for more to come and zero in on what they really need as well as what they want. The incentive is never greater for kids to shape up, as they watch the family get the rest of the house organized and ready for company.
Past toddler ages, children can be part of the clean-up and decoration process throughout the house as well. Whether unpacking and putting out decorations, helping set the holiday table, wrapping presents, cooking or baking with parents or grandparents – children will be making memories and keeping family traditions that they will pass on in the future.
Encourage children to add to the holidays by being contributory. Sewing, drawing, making holiday decorations, writing a play or a poem, or entertaining family and friends with a special piece of music are all positive ways to develop people skills, poise and self-esteem. I still treasure and display the Hanukkah menorahs made by my sons when they were seven and ten along with the memories of a past Thanksgiving holiday play given by my five and nine-year-old grandchildren who are now teenagers.
Traditions in families are handed down in many ways – orally, through photographs or videos or just by doing. Kids are always curious and want to know why something happens in their family in a certain way every year. Take the time to share, even if you’re overwhelmed with what you think are more pressing duties – or better yet, delegate that task to an elderly member of your family who might have more time to spend with your child. It’s a great way for generations to bond, creating more shared memories.
Most of all, try to keep the kid in you as the pressure mounts, and put things in true prospective. How important are those expensive gifts? Perhaps we all need to step back, realize what’s truly best about the holidays and let our children see that it’s not the material things, but the spirit of home and family that is remembered long after the “must have” gift of the year is forgotten.
From all of us at Natalie Weinstein Design Associates & Uniquely Natalie –
Best wishes to you this holiday season
Here’s hoping you make many happy memories and add to your holiday traditions.