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Helping parents love holiday break the way kids do

I don’t know about you, but our third grade daughter has officially been liberated from school as of today. She’s already teetering on the edge of boredom. So, how do I get any work done? How do we – as a family – have some fun and not become overwhelmed by the pressure of the holidays – financial and otherwise? To help us all, I posed a question about holiday breaks to a couple of our experts. Here’s what they have to say.

Please share your own suggestions, too.

Make a plan, and get some exercise

Breaks from school can be difficult for parents and kids. The holidays are great, but stressful. Kids get bored quickly and constantly want to know what the next “fun thing” is. Parents can tend to feel burdened and frustrated as they try to balance their work with the changing schedules and try to constantly find new and interesting activities. With this in mind, I often suggest a plan of “compromise.” What I mean by this is that parents should sit down with their kids and find out what their kids want to do. A “schedule of events” can then be made in which the parents do one of the things the child wants and the next day they switch. I feel this plan can be used with children of most age and developmental levels.

indoor activities such as sledding (weather permitting, of course) and Jump Street. I have found that people tend to feel the most enjoyment in activities in which they are directly engaged and interacting with each other. The beauty of this is that most of those types of activities are either free or fairly cheap. I cannot emphasize enough how much it means for a parent to be present and available to their child.

With all of this in mind, I hope you enjoy happy and healthy holidays.

Steve Sarche, Denver-based family psychiatrist and dad

Bust out the games and books, and don’t over-schedule

Here are my top three ideas:

  • Our extended family tries out a new game each year for the winter holidays, sometimes two if one game is pretty specific to an age range. We have so much fun laughing and talking together, and helping each other.
  • Give books to everyone. A great book is read many times by many people. Books are treasure chests for our imaginations.
  • Let kids have their own time. They need time for their own thoughts, or to play with peers. They’re not mini-adults. They have different needs.

R. Kim Herrell, retired teacher and dad

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