Whatever your religious beliefs, Christmas remains a special time of the year. For me, it has always been about the opportunity to spend quality time with family and friends and to reflect upon how lucky we are to have so much love and warmth in our lives. This Christmas will be Mrs Hibbert and my first Christmas as part of the Edenhurst family, and it would be remiss of me not to thank one and all for the warm welcome we have received.
I have enjoyed getting to know the Edenhurst children and have watched them work very hard at school this term. I am amazed at how much they have achieved inside and outside of the classroom. I am proud of each one of them. My wish is that Christmas will be a time of rest and relaxation for them and for you, too.
I would like to share with you some suggestions for things to do together which should help to make the most of your Christmas family time while keeping your children’s intellectual and creative curiosity alive:
Visit some Christmas lights or simply walk around your own neighbourhood, appreciating the effort your neighbours have put into lighting up the world!
Help your children to buy Christmas presents. It is lovely for young children to experience the joy of thinking of others and giving gifts, and to learn to budget, by choosing Christmas presents for their family.
Write handwritten thank you letters with them. It can be tempting nowadays to send emails, texts or messages on social media to thank family members for presents. But if you encourage your children to sit down and write thank you notes or letters by hand for any gifts they receive, you are helping them to develop their handwriting, their English and communication skills and their presentation skills. Being able to plan a letter or simple piece of writing is a great skill and writing thank you letters is a great way to practise.
Help others. By giving your time selflessly to help others, you can show your children the true meaning of Christmas. You could offer to volunteer with a charity, or perhaps take an hour one morning, with your children, to go through your kitchen cupboards and take out a few items to donate to your local Foodbank. There are collection points now in many major supermarkets, or you can find details of your local Foodbank online. If you have an elderly neighbour, why not knock on their door and ask them if they need any assistance with shopping, cooking, decorating etc. in the run-up to Christmas. Small acts of selfless service can be incredibly meaningful and rewarding.
Play board games, Charades etc. and avoid screens! Board games are the perfect way for a family to spend time together. There are many superb family board games available; my favourites are the traditional ones like Snakes and Ladders, Frustration, Monopoly (and there is an excellent card version, Monopoly deal) and Cluedo, all of which develop counting or maths skills, gameplay and critical thinking skills. If your children enjoy puzzles, Christmas is a perfect time to do a really big one together as a family. Charades is another great family game to play at Christmas.
Reading together is the most important thing you can do with your child. We hope you will read to them and with them, every day over the Christmas holidays, and that they will see you reading lots of books, newspapers and magazines. Do pop a few books on those Christmas lists, if you haven’t already. If you are in need of inspiration, please see the list that Mr. Barnes has compiled.
Merry Christmas one and all!