The holidays are here! Hopefully they will be filled with fun times: visiting with families and friends, presents, sharing with those less fortunate, good food. But they are also filled with your children – school is on vacation! Don’t try to stay busy with your kids every minute, as a relaxed schedule is nice for two weeks.

So just have fun. Bake cookies, go to the park, visit Santa at the mall, and have play dates with friends. Go out in the cold one night to look at the stars and look for your breath. Stay in pajamas later than usual, hang out at home and play, and make breakfast for dinner. Watch movies at home and in a movie theater, go to a museum, and laugh a lot.

Teach your children that every family celebrates different holidays in different ways, and that is what makes this season so special. Every child should be taught to appreciate diversity, and to value our differences.

Make writing thank you notes a part of your holiday traditions also. Teach them how to write a polite note, and insist they write the note within one week of receiving the gift (or risk losing it!)

Your teens are thrilled to be on vacation. Hopefully they have just finished the stress of finals, and can’t wait to do nothing for the next 2 weeks. They don’t want or expect to be entertained by you. In fact, some teens don’t want to spend any time with you! They want to schedule their own activities, make their own plans, and just have you agree to all their requests.

Sleeping late and allowing them more time to play computer games and text their friends is fine. They need unscheduled time with fewer expectations and less pressure. But they also still need supervision and enforcement of the same health and safety rules. Maybe they can stay out late on a week night – but you still need to know where they are and who they are with.

And, finally, at every age, take lots of pictures! They are only this age once.

Thank you for allowing me to join you on your parenting journey. I look forward to seeing what 2019 will bring to us all.