HOLIDAY CUSTOMS LIKE “ELF ON THE SHELF” ENCOURAGE HEALTHY DEVELOPMENT IN CHILDREN
The holiday season is joyous and exhilarating for parents and children alike. Building traditions with your children from an early age can benefit their mental and emotional development, even if your family celebrates uniquely.
Consider the Elf on the Shelf. For many families, this tiny red-suited Elf gives a concrete link to the mythological story of Santa Claus and his little elves at Christmas.
To assist youngsters in learning vital skills while connecting them to the holiday and the special time of year, traditions like this can be very effective. Here’s how to establish family rituals and traditions that benefit your children’s growth and development as loving, creative, and clever adults. Read on to learn more.
How to Create a Family History That Lasts a Lifetime
Family customs enhance children’s ability to process and appreciate the meaning of special occasions. Helpful and joyous rituals can help children anticipate and prepare for changes in their lives. Help them prepare emotionally and connect emotionally with the individuals they are about to meet; these can be helpful.
To put it another way, building a family custom, especially while your children are small, is an excellent way for you and your family to connect emotionally with each other and the holiday. The holidays will be more enjoyable for everyone if children have a sense of belonging.
Maintaining and passing on traditions is critical because they provide a basis for cultures, validate fundamental beliefs, and serve to ground us as individuals.
Talking about your family’s traditions is essential to building them and being aware of how your children feel about them. Discuss the custom with them and find out what they think about it. To put it simply, kids need you to be their most reliable source of information about the world. The more children can express themselves, the better.
A holiday’s message — be it of celebration or love or belonging — should be reinforced through customs and traditions. Consider what the holiday means for your children and what you can do to help them feel a part of it by taking time to reflect on its significance.
Several Reasons to Start a Family Tradition
Traditions may be a powerful tool for fostering a sense of belonging and intellectual growth in children when they are developed with care. To begin with, they serve as a basis for creating new memories each year.
According to Dr. Mendez, remembering a child’s life experiences in the context of family life is important in fostering a strong attachment and sustaining unique value in a child’s life.
As you can see, there are many other advantages to establishing holiday traditions, including the following.
Improve Family Relationships
Traditions serve as a means of connecting children to the individuals of their family’s past. A family’s rituals have sentimental value because they’ve been passed down through the centuries. In addition to helping the child look forward to the holiday, it also serves as a reminder of your family’s heritage. As a result, they can be incredibly uplifting.
They gain valuable abilities and attributes due to their strong links to their families. Through the process of passing down traditions, children gain a sense of identity, a foundation of trust, and an appreciation for the past, present, and potential future.
It might be difficult for young children to comprehend the size of their family, especially if some of their relatives only show up during the holidays. These ties can be strengthened if there are established rituals.
As joyous as the holidays might be, they can also be stressful for children who aren’t used to the constant barrage of lights, music, and people around them. Christmas can be wonderful and exciting for everyone, but it can be stressful for certain children, especially those who are more sensitive or younger. Rituals can help these children cope with difficult situations.
It’s no secret that parents have a lot on their plates over the holidays, so having these anchors to keep their kids from being overwhelmed can be a source of comfort. Parents are often baffled by their children’s reactions to large gatherings, reunions with long-lost family members, and the like. Rituals can be especially beneficial for children with special needs since they help them prepare for the upcoming event.
Imagination should be nurtured.
Kids are encouraged to embrace the extraordinary and suspend their disbelief when participating in seasonal customs like the Elf on a Shelf, Christmas carols, and the Hanukkah story of the oil lasting eight nights, all of which require them to suspend their disbelief. Young children’s ability to think creatively is enhanced when exposed to stories with fanciful aspects, such as those told during the holidays.
And the benefits don’t end there, either. When youngsters are exposed to fantasy, they learn to recognize the difference between actual and fictional concepts. The ability of students to build on, generalize, and apply what they’ve learned in the classroom to real-world situations is necessary for their growth and development.
To assist youngsters in developing their imagination, it’s vital to establish a line between the stories you tell and the reality of the world around them. It can be very difficult for young children to tell the difference between fantasy and reality. Because they lack perspective, individuals may get more anxious due to their inability to comprehend what is being placed.
Our recommendation is to tell stories, acknowledge that they’re stories, and then encourage youngsters to express their views and feelings. It’s a great way to honor our people’s resiliency during Hanukkah, for example, by lighting candles and talking about how incredible it was.
Educate People to Think Critically
The ability to think critically and examine a problem or circumstance before coming to a decision is one of the most crucial life skills that children may begin to develop as early as possible. This skill may be cultivated in the classroom, but it can also be created through holiday customs.
When a child’s developing mind considers both imagination and reality, critical thinking is strengthened because the knowledge is interpreted in a socially acceptable way within the child’s world experience. This is a beautiful opportunity for children to learn these abilities, as long as parents are present to help them process the information and stories offered to them throughout the holidays.
Dr. Mendez points out that critical thinking isn’t the only educational ability youngsters may learn during the holidays. Language development, cooperative interactions, and respect for cultural norms can all be fostered through holiday customs.
Traditions for the Holidays: Some Ideas
Many families have passed down or enjoyed childhood rituals and traditions. When it comes to starting your own, many options are available! You may help your children grow by engaging in these kid-friendly activities and traditions:
- using an advent calendar
- Choosing a tree for the holiday season
- You’ll use a mishkan or menorah when celebrating Kwanzaa or Hanukkah.
- Decorations are being erected.
- Involvement in the kitchen or baking
- Sending holiday cards to family and friends
- philanthropy (volunteering, donating food or clothes, etc.)