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Christmas and Building Quiet Traditions

The holidays are such an exciting time. We anticipate the time off, the time to spend with family and friends, and for children the idea that Santa is coming with gifts is magical!

We all want that innocence of children to be preserved as long as possible, so we adults continue the traditions of our families: special foods, music, decorations preserved from our own childhood, and seasonal events. It is important to maintain these memories.

Amidst all the hustle and bustle, we need to make sure there is time with less stimulation, especially for our youngest kids, or our children for whom bright lights, loud music, excitement presents particular challenges. This is important for school, and home, and experienced teachers always build more structure into the month of December, in spite of the holiday plays and assemblies.

Try to keep some quiet time within the holiday season, at home. Dim the lights. Keep things calm. Provide the blankets, books, favorite and familiar toys. Keep to the usual schedules as much as possible, even if there is a great Christmas special on that might push back the bedtime! It is hard enough to sleep when you are cranked up, and sleep deprived kids can become more hyper.

This is a time to share your own stories. Notice how kids will watch the same video, over and over again? Well, they will love to hear your family stories over and over again. And when we tell stories, every child imagines the setting, characters and actions anew each and every time. It is a quiet tradition, storytelling. Yet, you build your own history through stories, and they don't have to be like the manic action adventures playing in the theaters or on that huge TV screen. What stories do you remember asking your parents to retell?