Advent calendar

Becoming a better parent: An Advent Calendar

Our Westview team member, Terry Owens, continues our series, Becoming a Better Parent. In this article, Terry explains the potential of creating an Advent calendar to cope with the holidays in a pandemic.

2020!! This year has flown by and it has been a challenge. The pandemic has pushed us into numerous changes: we are working from home and our kids are going to school virtually (or some hybrid of that) to protect those who are vulnerable. Last Christmas we talked about the importance of traditions and rituals to connect with our children but this year we are beginning to realize that we have rituals and family traditions that we may not get to share. Some families, for example, are not going to be able to get together at the grandparent’s house. Even though we may have to postpone our traditions, this is a time we could develop some new traditions that might include grandparents and other family members.

Following the Advent calendar could be a great tradition to start with your family. Advent is the period beginning four Sundays and weeks before Christmas and it celebrates the coming of Jesus into our world. An Advent calendar comes in many forms and designs. Some are made of wood with a large colorful building with windows that open to reveal a beautiful picture for that day, and some are a Christmas tree with each ornament hiding a picture. Advent usually starts on December first and continues through Christmas day.

I suggest we put a different spin on the traditional Advent calendar. Coming from the connected parent point of view, I would get the children together and create an Advent calendar of connecting activities. Get your children’s input on what your calendar can be, a Christmas tree with pockets or a set of colorful bowls in which you can put each day’s activity. As a family, make a list of the fun holiday activities you can do at home or virtually so you can include other family members who cannot visit due to the pandemic. Here are some ideas for activities: watch a holiday movie, play virtual bingo, share hot chocolate time, and enjoy karaoke.

The important thing is to make time every evening to do an activity that the family can enjoy together. This will, in time, develop stronger, loving relationships. This special time will also be an escape from the day-to-day worries and help relieve the stress that we are all feeling these days. Sometimes we parents get so focused on our children’s physical health and protecting them from Covid-19, we do not notice how all of this is affecting their emotional and mental health. To be honest, we probably don’t notice how deeply it is affecting us as well.

Finding creative ways to connect with your children will help them navigate this difficult time and grow even closer to their family in the process. Find your inner child and play with your kids. Let them be the lead in play and in creating your Advent calendar counting down to Christmas.

Merry Christmas from the Westview family and may God bless you all.

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