It’s a crazy busy time for kids. School pantomime practices, tired teachers, testing to be done before reports, general excitement to the lead-up to Christmas, and later nights due to the onset of Summer (at least in the Southern Hemisphere ;)).
This is the time of year that I encourage a wee loosening of the strictness of homework … Leave the after school time free for kids to eat, and then be in their own space. There is no advantage to getting into stressful arguments with your kids at this time. Often parents become really frazzled, maybe they too have had a few later nights, and a few Christmas parties, and they start threatening NO presents, or ‘be good or Santa won’t come’ …. Threats are easy to say when we are angry, but difficult to follow up with when it comes to Christmas.
If your child is over school-work, over reading … Take another tack – why don’t you read to them? Even if it’s for a 5 or 6 year old, if they point to the words while you read, you will still be doing some good, but without the stress – this isn’t for the whole year, but if your child is tired, stressed, and parenting seems hard as schools finish up for the year, put some thought into making things easier.
If your kids are older, 8-10 pick a series of books – you could read them the first book, and hook them in to want to read the rest of the series. This time last year I started the Harry Potter series with my older kids, and over the year they have read though the rest of the series themselves. I read a chapter a night, and re-ignited the love.
10-15 year olds are starting to get into more and more adult books, and are less likely to want your attention but there are some fantastic series in the Fantasy genre, authors like David Eddings, which are interesting and there is nothing to say that reading to your children is a bad thing at ANY age.
If your kids are studying for exams, give them some space, feed them, water them and keep your own energy calm … Try not to nag, but let them know you are there if they need you.
This time of year should be about easing into your Christmas and enjoying your family through the month of December, more often than not, we stress, fight, and struggle to get our kids through it.
Make a commitment to focus on some positive aspects that you can bring into the last month of the year.