Call Us Today! 860-483-8737
Strategies to help today's working families in Northeast CT, MA and RI.


School Vacation Ideas

December 26, 2013

For many of us, it is the day after Christmas when the wrapping paper and bows that dotted the floor yesterday all find their way to being reused or to the trash.  When I was younger my friend’s family called it the “Big Clean Up.”  It is a special time of year whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukah, or Kwanzaa which starts today. 

Periodically we at JMHaines will be writing articles on a variety of topics for our “News” section. Some will come from questions that we receive by email, some by topics in the media, and some will be from conversations that happen every day.  We also will be adding articles by outside authors that we feel would be of interest to our readers or we feel strongly about.  If you have an opinion about anything you read and would like to share please email us at  Thank you and enjoy your New Year!

With school vacation in full swing we wanted to present ideas on how you can spend some of that time with your child.

Go for a walk with your child.
 It may seem like an easy choice or option but no matter where you live there are sights to be inspired by.  If you live in a place where there is snow, look for tracks made by a variety of animals.  Talk with your child as you go, and use this time away from phones and iPods to get in touch with the natural world. How deep is the snow? Is there a way you can measure it?

If you’re in the city, what buildings are around where you live? Do they have names? Are they brick? Do you know the names of your neighbors or the neighborhood businesses? Engage them in conversation that teaches them about their communities.  Children are interested and intrigued in the world around them.  As adults we generally have lost that wonder, but children love to learn.

Take on the challenge of a puzzle.
The key is choosing a puzzle that is age appropriate for your child.  Maybe it gets done all in one sitting or maybe both of you come back to it. The fun is that they can be left unfinished and you can always come back.   Puzzles are wonderful fine motor and spatial ability activities.

Spend time reading with your child
With all of the technology that is out there, they all require you to be able to read. Reading can also be an intensely personal experience.  You as a parent or caregiver have the power to bring words to life.  Books are not just a blank screen that requires little effort.  It is effort, and you taking time out of your day or evening to read or be read to is important.  If a child sees that you care enough to break open a book with them, they are more likely to want to show you that they too can do it. 

Time to be an actor!
This ties in to your reading time.  Pick a scene for your child, or even better have your children pick out a scene and tailor it to the age group.  Act out a scene or a portion of dialogue.  Bring those words even more to life!  You don’t have to be Leo Dicaprio or Meryl Streep.  Effort, energy, and a smile are all that it takes. 

Get crafty people.
Many fathers that I have talked to say they are apprehensive about getting involved in projects requiring construction paper, glue, glitter, or popsicle sticks.  My question for them is why? Children don’t expect you to blow them away and be the Martha Stewart of craft time. It could be as simple as learning how to make a paper airplane that you haven’t before.  You could spend time looking up on the internet something that you notice your child might be interested in making.  Again, it doesn’t have to be grand, but break out the markers, break out the scissors, and clean off the table! You and your children will create incredible things. You will also share the memory of creating them together.

Share stories of your family.
You may have thought that you ran out of stories about their grandparents or other family members but I bet you have one or two more if you really think about it.  Learning about family and about where they come from gives them history.  It also lets them know where their parents came from and perhaps why you always like your coffee cup on the left side of the plate even though you’re right handed.  Live story telling is a wonderful way for your children to bring that family tree to life.