Ahhhhhhhh! The holidays! A time of celebration, or… stress? What is it to you? Me: both. I love seeing the family and sharing hearty meals. But I don’t like the shopping part, gift wrapping, cooking, cleaning, etc. The overload of things to do is exhausting.
Is this your little one’s first Christmas? Getting a baby out of routine can sometimes be a source of stress. But, good news! You won’t be alone in taking care your child. As long as you are open to the idea of sharing, your toddler will probably be the family’s favourite! Take the opportunity to have a glass of red wine, well seated in the sofa, while aunts, uncles, nephews and nieces entertain your offspring.
Games that cost nothing and are everywhere
I suggest you not to buy anything for your child this year. She or he is still too small to make a fuss about it (take advantage of it!), and it makes you one less puzzle on your gift list. Let others spoil him. Instead, make sure you provide the family with everyday objects that entertain your toddler: Tupperware dishes, cardboard boxes or remaining gift-wrapping paper can also be very enjoyable.
Are you going on a visit? Bring his favorite doggie and cuddly toy. For the rest, you can improvise with what you will find on the spot. And all the gifts s/he’ll receive!
How to involve the whole family?
Here are some tips:
1- The rolling fire
Put the child on the carpet among the family members sitting in the living room. Throw a stuffed ball at someone sitting on the sofa. It is up to this person to get down on the floor and invent a game to interest the little one. When the toddler shows a sign of boredom, this person throws the ball to someone else, who then goes on to entertain the child. And so on. Until your baby is ready for a nap, which shouldn’t be long now, with all this stimulation!
One of the advantages of this game is that it allows everyone to stay interested. Babies and adults included! Very young children tend not to want to keep their attention on the same game for long. By changing partners and styles, you keep the toddler’s interest, and you don’t exhaust anyone trying to be creative for 30 minutes…
Depending on your child’s age, here are some game ideas that could be tried by different guests:
“I’m going to catch you!”
“I’m hiding behind the sofa! Hello!”
The cries of the animals
Putting small objects in a Tupperware
Hiding objects in a bag, taking them out
Puppets with mittens or socks
Tie an object to the end of a rope or shoelace so the child can grasp it
Make a cabin under a chair, with cushions, or its cuddly toy
2- In the kitchen
It is well known: family parties often end up in the kitchen. In order to keep your little one in the action, provide him or her with a homemade clay with flour, water and salt. Or have her/him painted with jello or pudding.
A little more cleaning to do in the kitchen, or a little less, won’t change much… Put your little cousin to work!
Or the famous spoon game, baby sign version! We spread a few spoons on the table. We ask the baby which spoon s/he wants to eat first. He points at a spoon. “Ah! That’s the spoon for Grandma! “And we make the sign “grandma”. The next spoon is for her sister Sophie. And we make the sign “sister”. And so on. After a while, with repetition, the child will be able to wave at the family member of the spoon he wants to eat!
3- The baby sign game
Teach your family members the most commonly used or current signs depending on the situation. For example: “again”, or “finished”, “play”, “hide”, “dance”, “music”, “happy”, “light”. This way, you will involve everyone to help your child learn the signs.
You could give a sign to each adult present. His or her mission would be to do this sign to the child when s/he is in interaction with the toddler.
If your child has already started to communicate using signs, it will be even more interesting!
With the Samuel Signs application, you can easily encourage even more your family to participate. Invite them to download the app to their phones. They will be able explore the signs, even if you are not around! (Your “vino tinto” moment on the sofa is sacred, isn’t it?)
And what are your ideas?
Have you had any interesting experience of family contribution playing with a small child during the holidays? Do you have any suggestion of a game with baby signs?
We would be interested to hear your testimonials in the comments!