Pattie’s Parenting Tips-Growing & Learning During the Holiday Season

Authored by Pattie Carroll

Whether you celebrate Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Christmas, or something else entirely, the holiday season is here, and although this year, the holidays may look different for your family, they still provide opportunities for your family to grow and learn.

Research shows that families who spend quality time together have a stronger emotional bond and better communication, and the kids do better academically. Here is one tip on how to create special moments even during the challenging holiday season.

Put Love & Connection Front and Center

It may be tempting to use gifts as a means to motivate children to behave during the holiday season.  The problem is that this kind of approach does not create lasting motivation or self-discipline for your child and it can actually increase the power struggles you are trying to avoid. Relying on external motivators like elves, gifts and bribes also means children will learn to focus on what they can “get” instead of learning the value of respect and following your guidance.

Try instead to focus on your relationship. You can do this by spending special time together daily. Different from the daily time you spend normally. Remember, your kids want connection not perfection! Try not to worry about keeping up with the latest trends. The Holidays can be a wonderful time to build memories, being deliberate in how you connect with your children can make it a truly magical time. Your shared time together is what will matter in the long run.

For more ideas on how to build connections as a family during the holidays check out the PBS Holidays, website. Scroll to the bottom of the page for a list of holiday themed books you can read together as a family.



All the Best,

Patricia Carroll | UW-Madison, Division of Extension
Associate Professor, Dept of Family Development
Human Development & Relationships Educator, Dodge County



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