This holiday season…

A great ime to create wonderful family memories: visiting with families and friends, giving and receiving gifts, sharing with those less fortunate, cooking and baking good food for your family.
This is a time to have fun with your kids. 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.

Try to keep your toddlers on their regular sleep and eating schedule, don’t build the expectations of gifts and Santa too high, and appreciate their innocence and joy. Have them scribble a picture with crayons, then add their name in pen, and send it off as a thank you note.

Kids: School is not in session and your kids are home – all day! And they might expect you to entertain them every minute. But don’t do it! Being able to entertain yourself is a valuable skill, and one to teach your children. Now your kids can write their own thank you notes. Teach them how to write a short but polite note, how to address and stamp an envelope, 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.

Allowing your teen to sleep late and allowing them extra time to play computer games and text their friends is fine. They need unscheduled time with low expectations and low pressure. But they also still need close 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.

Thank you all for reading my emails, for sharing your children and your stories with me, and for teaching me so much about parenting and families. I am looking forward to spending 2015 with you too. Please stay in touch; I value every lesson you teach me.