The shops and lamp posts along the city streets are adorned with wreaths, bows, menorahs, and garlands. The hustle and bustle of the city has picked up its pace, due to gift, food and decoration shopping. You and your children may be among those shoppers. The holidays are drawing near. With all this excitement over presents, feasts, and decorations, have you taken the time to tell your kids the real meaning of winter holidays?
Determine Your Family's Personal Meaning
First off, you must determine what the holidays mean to your family. The exact meaning will vary from family to family. However, underlying meanings of the holidays can be similar. Many people believe that family is a big part of the true meaning of the holidays. Some also believe giving to others holds a deep meaning during the holidays. Special time spent with those you are closest to can be another meaning behind the holidays. And for others, the holidays can hold a religious meaning.
Seize The Moment
There are always opportune moments to seize for holiday conversations with your child. While gift shopping with your child, you can mention that while some people may be buying gifts, it is not as important to receive as it is to give. Explain about how great it feels to give to others. One way to reinforce that idea is to have your child do something special for someone else. It could be walking the dog of an immobile neighbor or carrying in someone's groceries from the car. It may even be as simple as creating a drawing or craft that is uniquely special to the one it is given to.
Another moment to explain the meaning of the holidays could come during grocery shopping to feed visiting relatives. Explain how important family is and what role they may play in holiday festivities, as well as how important it is for families to gather together and celebrate. Spending time together, for some families, only occurs during holidays. For those families it can be extra special.
Putting the Meaning Into Action
There are other ways to get the point across to your child. Try a few history lessons on holidays from History.com. While discussing various holidays celebrated in December, try discussing with the child common elements, including giving, spending time with family and thinking of others. You may also wish to have the child color some family-themed coloring pages from Edupics.com.
Perhaps you are on Travelzoo.com researching the best prices for your family member to visit you. A nice gesture that could provide a great example for your child would be for you to pay some or all of your family member's traveling expenses to come visit you. Donating to those who are in need can also be a wonderful example of teaching the true meaning of the holidays to children.
GuideStar.org has an easily accessible list of non-profit organizations that you may want to consider choosing from. If your family holds a spiritual or religious meaning behind the holidays, be sure to take time out to explain this to your child as well.
In essence, the methods used to explain the true meaning behind the holidays can vary. The methods you choose to implement don't matter as much as spending time together and sharing the meaning.
*I originally published this via Yahoo Contributor Network
Want to show off your little angel's voice in time for the holidays? Kids can be amazing singers. But some may have more trouble than others memorizing the lyrics. Be it Christmas, Hanukkah, New Year's, Easter, or any other holiday year-round, kids love singing songs. Here are the lyric memorization tips I've had the best success using with my own kids and those in my care as a former nanny.
Start early. You can't start practicing two days before the holiday if you expect the kids to learn a new song. Have multiple songs? Start even earlier. The more time the kids have to practice and become familiar with holiday sing lyrics, the better they will learn them. While there is fun to be had when kids forget their lyrics, it can be satisfying to them to get through a performance without stumbling.
Practice often. The key to learning anything well is putting it into practice. Holiday song lyrics are no different. If this is for a school program, there is likely a specific time-frame set aside for practice. If it's for homeschool students or your kids are putting on their own show, practice might be done in a central location for several students or it may take place at the park or in the home. No matter the situation, be sure the kids have plenty of time to practice. Some may also choose to practice extra on their own.
Be patient. It may take some kids a while to get the lyrics straight. Be patient and understanding. If they see you get frustrated, they may do the same. A calm and patient environment will likely produce better results than if kids feel rushed. Holiday lyrics can often be confusing to kids because there can be so many variances. They may be used to hearing a song one way and have to learn it another. They may also have never heard certain songs before or just not be good at memorization.
Avoid pressure. This falls in line with being patient. Don't push the kids too hard to learn the holiday lyrics. If they mess up at certain points, it's no big deal. They are kids, not robots. Pressure can actually have the opposite effect you are looking for. It can also lead to the kids not being excited about singing carols or being in performances. Pressure takes all the enjoyment out of an activity that is supposed to be fun.
Have fun! No matter how long it takes to teach kids holiday lyrics and no matter what methods are employed, the most important aspect is fun. Just have fun! If someone messes up the words, laugh it off and start over. Discuss not just the lyrics, but the history and meaning behind them. Play fun games to help with memorization or relaxation. Remember that the point is not to create perfectionism, but to have some fun with the kids. A perfect show is not necessarily one where every kid knows the lyrics. It's one where everyone has fun.
*I originally published this via Yahoo Contributor Network
Lyn Lomasi is founder and owner of the Brand Shamans Content Community. Services include ordained soul therapy and healing ministry, business success coaching, business success services, handcrafted healing jewelry, ethereal and anointing oils, altar and spiritual supplies and services, handcrafted healing beauty products, and more!
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