March 2008

Better Parenting — A Week at a Time
Parenting tips by Becky Cerling Powers

How to Be a Better Parent in December

On Sundays — The world won’t fall apart if you lower your expectations a little and don’t get everything done that you planned to do this year for Christmas. You and your family will survive the holidays (and life!) better if you accept imperfection.

On Mondays — Children do not handle marathon shopping expeditions well. Trade babysitting with a friend so that you both can focus on adult-only holiday preparations, like major shopping trips, without your children. When it is your turn to babysit, set aside your own holiday preparations to focus on the children.

On Tuesdays — Tune out advertising and think for yourself about what your children like and need when you plan holiday gift-giving. With little or no money, you can give your children good toys that stimulate them to invent play ideas and do things for themselves. For example, a big cardboard box carved up and painted to look like a truck, submarine or rocket costs little except your time and offers endless play possibilities.

On Wednesdays — Treat your spouse and your children with dignity and respect by avoiding any kind of behavior or language that puts them down. Only then can you demand that children protect your dignity and treat you respectfully.

On Thursdays — Children enjoy sealing envelopes, licking stamps, and making one-of-a-kind holiday greeting cards using a variety of drawing, printing and other art techniques. Some children might enjoy addressing cards.

On Fridays — Try to keep a regular healthy routine of chores, bedtimes, rest times and sit-down mealtimes. An inconsistent routine makes it difficult for children to settle down or feel secure. This is especially true during times of high stress like the holiday season.

On Saturdays — Provide ways for children to retell the stories of Christmas and Chanukah with drawings, flannelgraph figures, child-friendly nativity sets or any kind of small doll, like the dolls that come with Lego sets.

 Becky Cerling Powers is editor of “My Roots Go Back to Loving,” a faith-based collection of El Paso family stories. She gives family writing workshops in schools, bringing generations together to teach children to write through the power of their own family stories. Phone: 915-877-7148. E-mail:

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