Your little ones may be more inclined to plop down in front of their favourite holiday specials than to help out at this time of year. But with some gentle prodding, they can quickly become your very best helpers.
If you send kids off to do a task they won’t particularly enjoy, chances are it either won’t get done or they’ll be cranky about it. A better option is to have kids work alongside you on whatever needs to be accomplished. So if you need to prepare vegetables for dinner, have the kids wash them while you chop. Or if there’s decorating that needs to get done, get the boxes out of storage, and put little ones in charge of distributing them around the house. This way you’ll be able to encourage them and keep them motivated every step of the way.
Surely your kids love unwrapping presents, but this year, get them involved in wrapping them as well. Even little ones can place presents in bags and cover them up with tissue paper. And you can put older kids in charge of wrapping your spouse’s presents or those of their siblings. Wrapping is a great task to give kids because they can do something they enjoy, such as watching TV or listening to music, while they do it.
Setting the table
The holidays bring with them a fair amount of family meals. And as fun as they can be, they do require a lot of work. Kids of all ages can be a big help when it comes to setting the table. Once you show them the basic rules, they can recreate it time and time again for you. It’s a quick job for them, but it will give you one less thing to do.
Small cleaning jobs with clear ends
Children are rarely overjoyed about the idea of cleaning up. Fortunately, however, giving them small tasks where the ends are clearly determined makes kids more eager to get them done and out of the way. If you give them something massive, such as polishing all the silverware, they may become frustrated and overwhelmed. Instead, give them something manageable, such as emptying the dishwasher or cleaning up a certain section of the family room.
Happy little servers
If you plan on welcoming some guests over the holidays, your kids can be a big help. Since you’ll likely have lots to do in the kitchen between checking on hors d’oeuvres and getting drinks, make the children in charge of serving the treats to guests. Every 10–15 minutes they can circulate the hors d’oeuvres and napkins to friends and family. It’s a great opportunity for them to talk to the adults and show how responsible they can be.