One challenge many Modern Dads face is how to create meaningful quality time with their kids during the holidays. Some families may need to split time with the kids between households and the whole thing can be pretty stressful. So here are a few ideas on how to maximize that quality time and make meaningful memories with your kids this holiday season.
First and foremost, the tree. Make sure that putting it up becomes an annual activity, together. If you don't have a tree for your place, make sure you go down to your local store and pick one up, along with some lights, and a box or two of ornaments. Putting it together for the first time in your place 100% should be done WITH the kids. It's not just a tree to them. It makes it feel like home. And being part of the process makes it THEIR home. After you get the tree up, you should think about a homemade item that you make together, like a cardboard Gingerman and put the year on the back. Then hang it on the tree together.
Second, do something together like read a Christmas-themed book. And I don't mean a bedtime story. Here is an example of a Snowman book on Amazon for only $11. Give the kids a heads-up that after lunch or dinner there's going to be a bit of time without tablets to check out a new book. If they help you read one page each, there is a prize. Or have matching Christmas hats for the book reading time. Make them excited somehow about reading it instead of surprising them with the idea and taking the electronics away. After reading the book, tell them it's a gift and they can put it in their room and read it whenever they want.
Lastly, make something together, like perhaps baking some holiday cookies in your favorite flavors. If you're not awesome in the kitchen, it's no problem. NEITHER ARE THEY! Letting them know you don't have to be perfect is packed with life lessons and will help them build confidence. Get matching aprons and show your sons that they can get in the kitchen too. Download a recipe for easy cookie options. I went through the work of finding one that will have you looking just like the picture above. And here it is:
Pro tip: Don't sweat the small stuff. If they come out burned. Laugh it off. If they make a mess, clean it together. If they get something wrong, keep your cool and try to remember, the cookies aren't the goal. The time together being a positive memory, is.
The last thought I want to leave you with for all of the above is that memories can last a lifetime. They may not remember what you said or what you bought. But they will definitely remember how you treated them and what you did together. Quality time is the absolute best way to reach your kids and the lessons they learn from watching your example will ALWAYS speak the loudest.
Happy Holidays Everyone.