It’s that time of year again, you know the one that gets really busy with holiday affairs; cooking special meals, eating more than usual, getting the house ready for guests, visiting family, and making sure you have purchased every gift on your list and a few for those unplanned parties. That cheery holiday music has probably become more annoying than joyous, and you feel like time is slipping by all while trying to be the perfect host, chef, and more importantly mom.
Let’s face it, the holidays are stressful. You juggle so much more at one time. But let’s go back to being a mom. As much as you feel the added pressure of the holidays, your children are probably picking up on your vibe too. So, with that being said, you have to make sure your emotions are in check, so children don’t feed off your energy and lash out in anger or what seems like an unexplainable meltdown. As much as children are excited about the holiday season, they still want to feel included in the chaos that you may be experiencing. So let your children add that joy back into the holidays for you.
Turn up the music, head to the kitchen, and include your children in baking those Christmas cookies. This is a perfect time to be silly together while allowing your child to explore the different textures and flavors in the recipe and having them help mix the batter – even it’s not perfect. It’s a great way to use words of affirmation while they attempt to learn baking techniques. The kitchen will probably get messier than usual and that’s ok, just include them in the cleanup process as well. All of this is creating a positive memory for your little one and teaching them how to channel their negative stress into something good, like cookies. And don’t underestimate the power of music playing in the background as you bake away, it links a positive memory to sound. So, years later when your child has grown to take on the holiday traditions and is feeling stressed like you once did, they’ll be able to use music as a tool to stay calm and refocus without throwing themselves to the floor and having that unexplainable meltdown from their toddler years.
If you didn’t realize it already, spending time baking Christmas Cookies with your child just became a form of social and emotional learning. You just gave them ingredients to handle the stresses of the world.
*Presented by the Early Learning Coalition of Hillsborough County