Tips for Engaging Children in Holiday Planning

The holidays are a great time to get kids involved with family activities, such as, gift shopping, decorating and helping with a meal. It builds excitement and allows them to be a part of something bigger than just their presents.  As a father to 7, I’ve learned how to incorporate the kids in our holiday festivities over the years. Here are a few ideas to share with your family:

  1. Let them make some of the decisions. If you have decorations that don’t have set spots, or are trying to decide between two stockings, let your child make the decision. They will feel invested and excited about their input.
  2. Don’t stress about where they put things. You can go back and change it later if you really need to. Give your children general instructions (the breakable ornaments go on top of the tree, the soft ornaments on the bottom) and let them have at it. You can rearrange and spread out the clumps after they are in bed.
  3. If you are a list maker, let them make the list on the computer. I guarantee you will have the prettiest list in town. While shopping, give them the list and the pen and let them cross off items as you get them.
  4. Let them make some of the easier food: Jello, mashing potatoes, Christmas cookies, and breads. These are all good things that children can do.
  5. Have them help set the table. Find an example of proper table setting on your iPad and let your children set the table. They just need a picture to follow.
  6. If gift shopping, ask your child for their input. “Do you think grandma would like this?” or “Which doll do you think Janie would like best?”  Having them help select gifts makes them proud, as well.
  7. Craft Time! If you are doing things and need them engaged in something else, give them a craft to do to help you. Make a countdown to Christmas paper chain, Thanksgiving “turkey” hands of thankfulness, napkin holders, place cards, holiday cards for grandma and grandpa.
  8. Make it fun. Sing songs while you bake, play music while you decorate, dress like each other and grab a special lunch while shopping. If you are having fun and not stressed, your child will have fun as well.

Good luck and Have a Happy Holiday!

Daddy Nickell

Daddy Nickell, father of 7, founder of and the Daddyscrubs parenting blog.

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