Unfortunately, the holiday season can bring some families more stress than joy. The shopping, decorating, hosting of out-of-town guests and kid’s winter break can bring parents to a breaking point. Here are three ezpz holiday tips to keep kids busy and keep the holiday stress at bay!
Have a Movie Marathon: One of my favorite holiday traditions is having a themed movie marathon. Is there anything better than a good excuse to snuggle on the couch with your kiddos? Try these tips for your next movie marathon!
- Cuddle up on the couch with a crunchy snack like my trail mix or cauliflower popcorn.
- Use the Happy Bowl to prevent spilled treats.
- Make a simple and fast dinner so that you can get back to your movie night. Having a DIY bar-style dinner gives kids some control around mealtime, which sets the groundwork for healthy and adventurous eating (especially after all the holiday candy and treats!). Try having a taco bar or sweet potato bar.
Play a Game: Planning a family game night is a great way to spend quality time with the kids. Games can also help kids develop closer relationships with extended family members that they may only see once a year. Here are some helpful ideas for developing play with your kids while creating a perfect game night.
- Set the stage by starting with a game that is short. Some of my personal favorites are: 100 piece puzzles, Story Cubes, Slamwich, Guesstures, Zombie Dice, Sushi-Go, Uno and Qwixx. Of course timeless card games like Old Maid and Crazy Eights are always a favorite. The Play Mat is perfect for game night as it keeps puzzle pieces from going missing, card piles organized and dice from falling off the table.
- Have a bathroom and snack break after the first game. This gives your kids and guests time to get more comfortable (e.g., grab an extra pillow, blanket or refill their drink) before settling in for a longer game.
- Decide in advance whether to play a longer cooperative game or a competitive game. Cooperative games (where you play with one another) include Charades (ages 4 years and up), Feed the Woozle (ages 3-6), Pandemic (ages 8 and up) and Forbidden Island (ages 10 and up). Competitive games, like the Sneaky Snacky Squirrel Game (ages 3-6), Sorry! (ages 6 and up), Yahtzee (ages 8 and up) or classic Monopoly (ages 8 and up), have family members striving to be the winner.
Make Holiday Recipes: Having the kids in the kitchen with you during the holidays can be a great time for bonding. Here are some of my favorite tips for cooking with kids.
- Have all of the ingredients, dishware and utensils out and ready so you can quickly introduce new vocabulary words to your child, such as ‘food coloring.’
- To decrease frustration, only give your child the number of commands they can developmentally understand for their age. For example, a child aged 3-4 years should cognitively understand 2-step unrelated commands like, “Put the cream cheese wrapper into the trash and get your apron.”
- Make recipes that only require three ingredients. This helps to keep kids attentive and involved in the process.
- A favorite three-ingredient, kid-friendly holiday recipe is my Christmas Fruit Dip. This is the perfect treat for your holiday movie marathon and for game night too! It’s also a great snack for kids to learn to enjoy holiday-themed fruits like kiwi and persimmons; these fruits are usually only in season during the Fall/Winter months.
Christmas Fruit Dip
- Whipped cream cheese (you can use softened regular cream cheese, but whipped cream cheese is easier for kids to stir if you are having them help)
- Red and green food coloring (store bought or homemade)
- Fruit to dunk
Place all of the ingredients on a contained and easy-to-clean space like the Play Mat (kids can get a bit messy with food coloring!). Next, have your kids put the cream cheese into two bowls. Add a few drops of green and red food coloring to each bowl. Ta-da! Your kids are ready to dunk away!
What movies do you watch during your holiday movie marathon? Share your favorite board games, child-friendly recipes and other holiday tips with our hashtags #ezpzfun #myezpzmat.
Dawn Winkelmann, M.S, CCC-SLP
Speech Language Pathologist & Feeding Specialist for ezpz