It's holiday time and undoubtedly you're busy making lists, cooking, shopping, wrapping, and mailing. Don't forget addressing cards to people you may barely remember, going to parties, and hosting festivities. Whew! Are you frantic and exhausted, but sense you've left something out? Maybe you have—your little one, who feels the excitement, but may also feel forgotten and forlorn. Your greatest gift to this youngest member of the family is to include him or her in the merriment of the holidays and build unforgettable memories. Try these great ways to involve your child in the delights of the season.
Countdown with Chains
Toddlers struggle with the concept of time and can drive their parents crazy asking "Is it time yet?" daily for weeks leading up to a holiday celebration! To ease their confusion (and your mind!), try this simple idea: a paper chain. Make paper rings out of construction paper for the number of days before your holiday begins. Use red and green for Christmas; blue and white for Hanukkah; or green, black, and red for Kwanzaa. Each night at bedtime, let your child tear off one ring and count those that remain.
If your child really enjoys this project, you can extend your chain-making to decorate the house. Hang chains on the Christmas tree or drape them over the staircase, the fireplace, or down the dinner table—and be sure to give credit to the beaming young artist.
Decorate Cookies Together
No time to bake from scratch? No matter! Buy ready-made dough that you can slice, or try the super-simple "place and bake" dough, and whip up a yummy batch of treats. Then wrap your toddler in an apron or old shirt, seat him at the table, and watch him have a blast decorating with an assortment of frosting and sprinkles. Your child's cookies may not be as pretty as you could make them, but they've been decorated with love and your toddler's own creative flair.