It's the time of the year I love most. I love the lights, the decorations, the music, the hope and the holiday spirit. What do I least like: the scramble. The scramble to get everything ordered in time. The scramble to get the kids dressed on holiday school spirit days. The scramble to complete more traditions I won't be able to keep up with every year.
What I have taught over the years as a PCIT Therapist is the importance of Special Time aka PCIT Homework Practice Time. What I have realized (finally) as a mom is truly how special that one-on-one time is during the holiday scramble. It's become THE THING I look forward to most on these busy days.
So here are a few tips from one parent to another about how to avoid scrambling around to fit Special Time into your holiday schedule, but be prepared and look forward to it.
Tip One: Find holiday activities you could use as your special time activity. Katie's example: We made Christmas ornaments using felt, holiday stickers, gems, etc. as our Special Time activity. I found a kit at Hobby Lobby for a whopping $1.50 for 6 ornaments.
Tip Two: Pack Special Time toys in your diaper bag, car, carry-on or tote. Think light and small. Katie's example: In my car I have 3 toys: Cars, small animals, and puffy sticker books. In my kids backpacks for car rides/travel out of town I pack: Coloring book/crayons, small princesses/Paw Patrol characters, and LCD drawing tablets. Side note: My kids LOVE the LCD drawing tablets! They are light-weight, shatter-proof & easy to pack. It's great alternative to screen time.
Tip Three: Make time for Special Time everyday. Seriously. Just do it. You will enjoy the slow pace, and you will cherish this time in years to come. Also, a daily dose of Special Time never hurts. Katie's example: "Santa" brings my kids a new Special Time toy each year and there's no stopping them. Last year, they dropped everything to complete Special Time right in the middle of opening presents.
I hope this helps you get in the Special Time Spirit and enjoy these precious moments with your kids.
-Katie Smith, PCIT Global Trainer and mom rockin' Special Time