How to promote your child’s Personal, Social, and Emotional development during the Christmas period.
Christmas is a wonderful time of year where we can enjoy lots of festive fun with our family.
It’s also a great time to help promote and develop your child’s Personal, Social, and Emotional Development. Here are some ideas for festive fun together as a family.
Sharing books together with your child is a great chance to spend quality time together so curl up on the sofa together and chose some books to share. Remember you don’t always have to read the story; your child might prefer to explore the pictures with you.
Talk about the story, the characters in the book, talk about the feelings of the characters in the story and afterwards share your favourite part of the story together. Encourage your child to do the same, if your child is not talking yet, give them the opportunity to communicate without words, for example by asking them to point to their favourite character pick one for them, you could say ‘hmm, where is the dog?’. Babies and toddlers might find interactive books with flaps, textures or musical buttons more interesting.
Board Games – A Christmas Classic
Why not get some board games that all the family can enjoy together, this helps to develop your child’s turn taking skills and being social with others and is a brilliant way to learn how to share, especially for only children or children with young baby siblings.
Tips for supporting turn taking
· Modelling can be helpful to teach your child how to take turns. Enlist the help of a sibling, another child or adult and act out appropriate behaviour. Point out to your child how you are taking turns playing a game. You could say “Look, Mummy’s having her turn, next it will be Nanny’s turn, then it will be your turn”
· Use a timer – take some of the arguing out of turn taking by using a timer. There is no one to accuse of being not fair if everyone gets the same amount of time.
· while your child waits for their turn- it may be beneficial for your child to have a security object to fiddle with if they get agitated waiting for their turn. If they can keep their hands busy or their focus off the time they need to wait until it is there turn that will help alleviate some of the tension.
· Praise your child for good turn taking – remember that there is no such thing as too much praise. You could say “Well done, I can see you are waiting for your turn, you are so good at turn taking”.
What to do if someone gets frustrated or angry
· Stay patient and understanding about what your child is experiencing, remind them that all emotion are ok but not all reactions are, suggest an appropriate reaction by saying something like “I can see you are annoyed maybe you could ask your sister to slow down so that you can see what’s happening”
· Listen and repeat- while you sit quietly and listen to your child, try repeating what they are saying to you. Do not argue. Tell them that you are listening carefully. Speaking slowly and very quietly will show your child that you are considering their feelings and making time for them to share with you.
· Consider distraction from the situation. It’s not always helpful to keep going if children (or adults) are feeling angry or frustrated, suggest something else and give the game another go at a later time.
Playing together with your child
When Father Christmas leaves all the wonderful new toys for your child, it is the perfect opportunity for you to bring out your inner child and imagination and to join in playing with your child, explore the new toys together. Older children might like to take the lead, follow them, while babies and toddlers might need you to show them what to do with new toys.
New experiences at Christmas time
Why not encourage your child to try something new over the Christmas period, for example build a new toy following the instructions together or trying those Brussel sprouts during the Christmas dinner!
Let your child see how amazing they are and what they are capable of! Remind your child that it’s ok if they don’t like something new, it can take lots of try’s to get used to new toys, tastes sounds or textures.
Christmas exploration in your local area
Go for a family walk together, who can spot the most Christmas lights? Which ones were your favourite? The fresh air is great for everyone’s mental health too and this is a great chance to walk off all those extra Christmas treats!
Socialising with extended family for Christmas in 2020
As many families may not have seen each other this year or may not be able to see extended family due to Christmas bubbles, why not arrange a video call to other family members. You could all learn a new Christmas song together and perform it for them, this can ease the pressure or conversation making on both sides.
With lots of us not being able to see family members or friends this year your child might be feeling nervous or become shy around family members meeting in Christmas bubbles, you can help your child with these emotions by:
· Sitting with them and offering calm physical reassurance by holding their hand or cuddling them, which can be soothing.
· Reassuring them
· This might not be the best time for a surprise visit, your child might benefit from knowing in advance that you will have visitors or be visiting someone.
· Talking about past events when you met with the family members.
· Give your child time to feel comfortable. Do not make them go straight over to visitors, instead encourage the adult to play with a toy near your child and to use a calm voice.
Take time to ‘chill out’ this Christmas
Christmas can bring lots of excitement for children and adults too! So, to calm everyone why not do some relaxing yoga together.
Cosmic yoga for kids on YouTube has a great Christmas special, so why not give it a try.
Merry Christmas from Everyone at Little Angels, we hope you have a wonderful time and we look forward to seeing you in the new year!