12 Ways to Help Your Children Notice the Holidays By Margery Leveen Sher, author of The Noticer’s Guide to Living and Laughing
Noticing. Being mindful. Paying attention to what is around you and who is around you. And when you are alert like this, be ready with a smile. I define Noticing as “mindfulness with a smile.”
Children of all ages can learn to be Noticers, and this will help them enjoy the holidays all the more.
Photo by pasukaru76 via Flickr
12 Ways to Help Your Children Notice the Holidays
- Ask them to Notice with all their senses. What do they see? Yes, the Christmas tree, but what does a branch really look like? Look at how the pine needles grow out of the branch. Look at how the branches grow out of the trunk.
- What do they smell? How does the tree smell? What can they smell in the kitchen? Can they sniff the spices used in baking?
- What do they hear? Is there music in the house? What kinds of sounds can they identify? The door opening or closing? The oven door closing? The refrigerator? The washing machine and dryer? The heat coming on? Footsteps of different family members or friends?
- How many different textures can they touch? How can they describe the tree branches? The wrapping paper? The carpet? The walls? What is smooth? What is rough? What is bumpy?
- Taste is the best sense of all during the holidays. What can they taste that is sweet? Salty? Sour?
For School-Aged Children:
- Challenge them to use their senses as listed for the preschoolers. But ask them to write the longest lists of everything they can possibly see, smell, hear, touch, and taste. If there is more than one child, make a contest. Who can list the most?
- As them to Notice the funniest things they can whether they see something, smell it, hear it, etc.
- If there is more than one child, a game can be created – What am I Noticing? One child has something in mind and the other child (children) can ask questions until they guess what it is. For example, questions might be: Is it something you see? Is it something you smell? Is it in the kitchen? Is it bumpy?
- Have a conversation with them while you are going somewhere together or cooking together. Ask them to Notice patterns. What are the familiar patterns of the holiday? What does mom always do? Dad? Grandparents? What is the pattern with food? Gifts?
- Discuss with them how the patterns make them feel. Does a pattern make them feel warm and cozy, like this helps make theholiday meaningful? Or does a pattern make them uncomfortable? Good patterns can perhaps be replicated at other times. When? Patterns that are not good perhaps can be disrupted. How?
For School-Age Children and Teens:
- How can they be helpful during celebrations? What can they Notice and jump in to help? Perhaps the grandparents need help getting their food or drink? Perhaps they can organize the little kids into a game?
- Talk afterwards about what they Noticed, what they did, and how the celebration made them feel.
Noticers are alert to all that life offers. The holidays are a wonderful time for children and families to learn to be a first-class Noticer. Hopefully, these 12 Ways to Help Your Children Notice the Holidays will benefit.
Margery Leveen Sher is the Founder and Chief Noticing Officer of The Did Ya Notice? Project™. Sher is a writer, speaker, entrepreneur, mother and grandmother who has had a long consultingcareer working to create better work-life balance within corporations, government agencies, non-profit organizations, and foundations.