We must admit, many of us did not think that we would be battling this pandemic during the festive season, when it first hit in March 2020. Some are more tired and stressed than others and we must all deal with the fact that this year’s festive season will not be like the usual ones. This may be an even more worrying thought when there are children in the household! However, there are a number of activities that can be planned together as a family, whilst maintaining the safety regulations required this year.
- Baking Day
Whether you already love to cook and bake, or you’re a newbie, get your kids involved in some festive treat making! Ask them what they would like to try out and find kid friendly recipes. Here are a few to get you started! Baking with your kids sounds like simple fun but also has many benefits that boost a child’s development. Cooking together with children helps them develop important academic, cognitive and motor skills. It increases their vocabulary skills, helps them learn new math concepts by measuring ingredients and helps improve focus and attention. In addition to all of this, it is a great bonding experience which provides essential life skills while boosting your child’s self-confidence.
2. Crafts & Gift making day
In addition to financial stress this festive season, going out to buy gifts may be an issue for many families at the moment. With some simple tools, ingredients, or and craft accessories, you can plan a day where you can make not only crafts, but gifts for each other. If your kids are older, they can do this more independently and you can all exchange the surprise gifts on Christmas Day. Some fun, simple gift ideas can include making:
- homemade soap using silicone moulds
- using shells or buttons to create a frame for a family photo
- making a fun Christmas decoration like a Christmas wreath or bauble
- making jewellery
- using clay and paint to create jewellery dishes
- making your own snowglobe using a glass jar
- making scented bath bombs
This task can bring a lot of joy in a stressful time, and teaches kids that the value of gifts does not lie in the amount of money spent. It’s also a good way of being sustainable and avoiding buying things which are not always needed.
3. Indoor Picnic /camping
Apart from the pandemic, the unstable winter weather limits family outings. Create a tent using sheets, or if you have one, open it up in the living room or backyard and have a fun camping night, saying stories, drinking hot chocolate and eating tasty Christmas treats. You can take this idea a step further and combine it with planting your own plants to create a more outdoorsy atmosphere, and having kids learn a new skill in the process.
4. Family talent show
Each family member has to present a talent and the winner gets a prize! The prize can be something all the family can enjoy like a homemade baked treat. This activity also means that your kid/s need to spend at least one morning/whole day planning and practicing, which is crucial if you need to work from home aswell.
5. Have a relaxing move night / spa night
If not much time can be spent together during the day, it would be a good source of motivation if the children know they have something to look forward to in the evening. They can pick out movies and you can all apply a face mask (not the one you use outside!) and relax together as a family!
While this festive season we are dealing with different stressors when compared to previous years, keep in mind that joy can be found in the simplest of moments and long lasting memories as a family can be made along the way!
Michaela Pace is a Psychology graduate from the University of Malta. She has worked with children and adolescents within the social sector and currently works as a Triage Officer and Volunteer Manager with Willingness Team, while pursuing a Masters in Gestalt Psychotherapy locally.