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Meaningful work for our children during the holidays

Never underestimate the power of board and other indoor games. You’ll learn so much about yourself and your child.

I often hear parents sharing their dilemma with the children being hooked on TV or gadget during the holidays. It is always a daunting task to pull the children away from media, especially when they seem to have nothing else to do.

This story appeared on the December 31, and January 1 and 2 issue of Mindanao Times. Click on the photo to download a copy.

Our house has been TV-free for around four years now and I know many parents who are also practicing the same. One of the few reasons for this lifestyle decision made by parents is actually the media content. Many of the shows on TV and even movies are not appropriate for children. It is very alarming that in the United States, the majority of its children’s population can identify 1,000 brands but can barely name 100 plants that surround them. I cannot help but wonder about the statistics here in our country.

Handwork, even crochet and crafts is enough to keep your child busy these Holidays.

Are there really ways? Of course. And the best benefit you can get from this is that you will have more bonding experience with the children. They will look back on the holidays when their immediate adults gave them the gift of attention. This may also mean that you will be going on a media detox for a while. Be sure to do it without media distraction. Schedule this ahead as an activity can be done once a day and another the next day. This may mean preparing things ahead.

1. Baking and/or cooking – Nothing is more fun for children than doing an adult’s task. Baking doesn’t need to be expensive, you can opt for more affordable options. Banana cakes or bread are classic choices, plus you can throw in nuts and chocolate chips so they’re more interesting.

2. Outdoor play – To allow our children to play outdoors means giving them more space for mobility and interaction. Badminton, tag, hide and seek, and any outdoor games are fun. As an added benefit, they help you lose weight and rekindle that child inside you.

3. Beeswax and/or clay molding and origami – Molding activity will enhance your child’s focus and mindfulness in the present moment. It will encourage you to pause and be with what you’re doing. Plus it enhances imagination. The first time I tried molding, I was laughing inside because I realized how the children can be so capable, and it showed how they can actualize their thoughts into tangible forms. However, don’t be hard on yourself (and to your kid). If you feel that your creation is not up to par with your expectations, then let it be an opportunity to learn and explore this craft further.

4. Indoor games – Board games are not only fun, but they’re also educational. While these things are common, they are timeless. So you may want to invest in board games that are varied and age-appropriate for your child’s age.

Outdoor games will not only help you shed the excess pounds you gained during parties and gatherings, they can also bring you closer to your children.

5. Artwork – Poster paints and watercolors are helpful to enhance creativity. For the adults, it is a de-stressor and healing for the soul. Watercolor allows us to express our deep-seated emotions. Do not be attached to the result. Whatever the output you and your child produce should not be subject to judgment. Shift the focus to enjoying the process than being all about the result.

May your meaningful bonding with your child grow warmer in the days to come. And remember, no judgments. Just enjoy the process! Happy holidays!

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