Monday, November 14, 2011

Staving Off Impishness During Time Off of School

The holidays are upon us and that means there is more unscheduled time for the children. And with the craziness of sweets and candy, seeing new friends and family, moved or missed bedtimes and naptimes, bored or overstimulated children..... well, impishness may be a polite way of saying that our kids are acting like little devils and how could this happen when so many fun and good things are going on for them and around them and didn't we train them better than this?!

A Parent's Review article from 1903 entitled "Suggestions for Holiday Amusements" (by E.A. Parish) shared some great ideas to help this very dilemma. This was written in England, and many times their children would be coming home from boarding school for different holidays throughout the year. We don't have that particular element to deal with in the States, but our family does take about a month off around Thanksgiving/Christmas. Children need some direction ~ if left to their own ways, they may choose idleness; easy thrills (video games, TV, twaddly reading, etc); whining or boredom. I've found that even when we are "off" of school, we need some planned activities to keep the kiddies occupied and their minds engaged.

Now, I don't schedule this necessarily, but I keep a list of possible activities that they might choose from ~things that are not allowed every day~ playdough, special baking, gingerbread houses, cardboard houses, spending hours down at the pond (a recent favorite where they build shelters out of big sticks and birch bark), going to a special park, zoo time, field trips ~ and Christmas time always brings lots of extra activities as well. Engage the kids in helping someone else (service project), work with them on a useful hand-craft, share a family read-aloud at bedtime (there are so many good Christmas stories!), involve them in chores and holiday prep work, have family movie time with classics like "It's a Wonderful Life", play lots of board games, and maybe keep the groove with a little bit of school(!).

Being out of our normal routine always makes me and the kids a little crazy, but holidays are a lot of fun and can give wonderful memories and family bonding time. Especially if you remember that free time around the holidays can still be productive and engaging while being relaxed.

Impish? Or just Cute? :-)


Jennifer Clouse Photography said...

Cute ;)

See Jamie blog said...

I'm going to sit down and make a list of fun ideas that we don't always have time to do during regular school days/weeks. The time off is a great opportunity to finally do some of those things!

amy in peru said...

wow! I can't even imagine a whole month of holiday!! all our free days are usually taken up with travel or guests or some other activity... we usually end up having to school up until about a week before Christmas! but I think that your list of special activities is a GREAT idea for any holiday break!

thanks so much for sharing this with the CM carnival!


Natalie said...

Thank you for this timely post. It was just what I needed.

Natalie said...

Thank you for this timely post. It was just the reminder, inspiration and permission I needed. By permission, I mean that I often worry when we take such a break but it can be such a blessing when handled correctly.
Maybe we can do a few things together during this time. :-)

Penney Douglas said...

Having a list like that is a very good idea. I don't usually think to get the little ones busy with something before we start on something else with the older kids, and I can see the handwriting on the wall (literally) as a result of it! Great idea!