Gina Davies' Christmas challenges blog:
12 Top Tips for Christmas Communication!
Tis the season to be jolly? Or stressed? Or just busy, busy, busy! Don’t despair, Santa and his elves have sent some ideas to keep you sane, and your children amused.
1. Countdown to Christmas
Children (and adults!) get excited on the run up to Christmas day – so help them to understand when it’s going to arrive by letting them know how many ‘sleeps’ there are until the big day! Time can be hard for children to understand and, especially for younger ones, counting days is difficult. Counting ‘how many sleeps until Santa’ is easier for them to understand.
2. Keep calm and carry on!
At this time of year children will be excitable, often fighting to tell you things all at once. As adults, it feels easier to ask them to calm down, but sometimes that’s just too hard! Children learn best by copying grown-ups, so show you are listening carefully and try to give them lots of time to talk.
3. Take turns with toys
Taking turns with toys gives you and the children lots of great opportunities to talk to each other. You can let children take turns and say who’s next, for example, “Sunita’s turn” and once children understand the order, you can ask them, “Who’s next?” This will help them with their speaking and listening skills.
How often do you get a lovely present for your child and then they are more interested in playing with the box or the wrapping paper? However, no matter what they play with, it’s an opportunity for communication. Watch what they’re doing, wait for them to say something or look at you and then respond. For example, they may put the box on their head and look at you and you can say, “Oh look – it’s a hat!” What else can the box be?
5. It’s a wrap!
If you’re stuck for ideas of how to keep the children busy on the run up to Christmas, then a fun thing to do can be to get them to wrap up old presents that you no longer want for people to guess what it is. They can wrap up a computer game, or a sock, or a jumper and so much more!
6. Tra la la la la, la la la la! Get singing!
Stick on the radio at Christmas and every other song will be a Christmas one. Sing along and encourage your children to join in. If you have Christmas music on your PC or on a CD, then you can use this as well. Some websites have Christmas lyrics so that you can sing along too, for example: www.songsforteaching.com/christmas
Ask your children to pick a song they would like to sing and then....go for it! The North York Talks team also have some ideas for songs to sing here: www.hello.org.uk/media/9191/december_-_set_the_scene.pdf
7. Knock, knock!
Who’s there?! We may groan and roll our eyes, but give the Christmas cracker jokes a try. When asking your children the answer, give them at least 10 seconds to think of an answer and keep them guessing for a while before you tell them.
Let them read them to you too if they can.
Another suggestion - vote if the joke is a ‘Bin it’ or a ‘Keep it’ joke, depending on how much you all groan at the answers. You can then get them to throw the bad ones in the bin!
8. Hide and seek!
If in previous years opening the presents on Christmas Day is finished before you know it, then here’s a suggestion to make it last a bit longer. Choose one present for each of your children (or ask them to pick for each other) and then hide the presents one at a time around the room and get each child in turn to find their present before opening it. When they’re looking for their present, tell them if they are ‘warm’ or ‘getting warmer’ (when near the present) or that they are ‘cold’ or ‘getting colder’ (when further away from it).
9. Anything I can do, they can do better?
Get your children involved in all your Christmas activities, from going to the shops, putting food away, preparing food, wrapping presents and writing cards. For example, if your children are younger, give them a card to scribble or draw on and if they are older they can write a card or put the cards in envelopes and write the addresses.
See ideas from the North York Talks team for kitchen and shopping Christmas fun here:
10. Present time is... talk time!
It’s easy to hand out presents so that everyone opens them at once, but nobody knows what anyone else has got. Change this by putting the presents under the tree, or in a big ‘Santa’s’ sack and pull one out at a time. Get your children to pick too. Let whoever has a present guess what it is before they open it and see if anyone else knows what it is. Once they have opened it, they can show it to everyone and tell them what it is and who it’s from, before the next person gets a present to open.
11. Tidying – what tidying? It’s a game!
If you want help to tidy up, then get your little elf helpers involved! Tell them Santa needs helpers and that they are allowed to be his elves for the day. Give them a bag each and see who can pick up the most wrapping paper for Santa. The winner can get a chocolate off the tree. If your children are older, get a bin bag in the middle of the room and use this as a target for them to throw balls of wrapping paper into. If they get it in first time they can get ten points, then 8 points for second attempt and so on. Before you know it, the paper will be in the bin!
12. Ho, ho, ho – have fun!!
If you’re having fun, no matter what you are doing, then your children are bound to have fun too! Laughter is infectious. So, ho, ho, ho – HAVE FUN!!
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