Getting children involved

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A child carrying a christmas present  

By Carol Nambowa

Posted  Sunday, December 22  2013 at  02:00

The children are excited about Christmas; no doubt. Involving them in the preparations will heighten the mood even more. So take advantage of this in different ways.

The Christmas tree
The decorations on the tree are probably pulled off daily because in children’s growing minds, they seem like the perfect play toys. For families which still opt for the traditional cyprus tree, it might not yet be bought or cut as yet.

Choosing a tree with the children, carrying it home and decorating it takes children through the exciting memorable process of preparation for the birth of Jesus Christ. Towards Christmas, most children make their expectations for lots of food made, especially types of food they do not usually eat and parents know to make that chicken present. With their cravings high, parents could take this chance to teach their children how to slaughter and prepare the chicken or how to prepare different types of food on the menu.

Time with family
Mark Ssegendo, a father of three, describes Christmas as family time.
“For the working class, it is time to relax at home and spend time with loved ones,” he says. Since it is already dubbed ‘family time’, parents should maximise this time not only to watch their children, but to also involve them in decision-making. When shopping with children, parents should inquire what kind of food they wish to eat, the kinds of dresses they wish to wear, and places to visit. Cooking with children also brings the family closer.

It is usually during festive season that children realise how normal or funny their parents are. This is because parents can read and tell stories to their youngsters as well as sing with them. Children can also help in the general cleaning usually done around the home in preparation for the big day.

Christmas is also about spreading the love. Depending on the amount of money parents are willing to spend during the festive season and the family Christmas norms, the festive season comes bearing a tone of expectations from children. Children will have expectations for dresses, chocolates, phones, plenty of delicious edibles and fun time with family.

Parents, however, should involve their children in choosing what they wish to get with the money available. This way, even with little money and a few gifts for Christmas, children are satisfied with what they receive and know why they could not have everything they wished for.
Parents should also encourage children to give gifts to one another and to their friends as well.

Travel time
One of the most exciting things for children, no matter the time or place, is travelling. May be it is the craze of travelling in the car that gets them so excited but travelling during Christmas season would definitely give the youngsters something to remember. Timothy Otim, a university student recalls, “After attending church, my parents would ask us to choose where we wanted to have lunch from.” It is involvement and memories like this, which carry forward the Christmas spirit for children even when they are older.

In this case, travelling does not mean going abroad with the whole family. Travelling for children is as simple as going to Wonder World, or Kiwatule Recreation Centre after church. Simply travelling to the village also gives children something to think about. With the new environment and people around them, children will be happy to interact with them.
At the end of the day, Christmas for many is about spending time with loved ones and creating lifetime memories.

PARENTING TEENS : What Christmas traditions do you have as a family?

“ Traditionally, Christmas is the feast of the birth of Jesus Christ that brings together families. As a reverend, we usually have service at church with the whole family, followed by a big luncheon, where we spread a message of love, peace and unity.”
Hon Rev Fr Simon Lokodo, Minister for Ethics and Integrity

“ This is a time for people to be with their families. I usually travel to the village, in Amaguru, Tororo District to be with my parents. I make sure food is prepared and we play loud music so that anyone who wishes can join us.”
Hon Sarah Achieng Opendi, Minister for Primary Care

“ Since we are muslims, we usually take the children to the beach and spend the day there. If there is a family that has invited us, we go and spend time with them.”
Zuena Kimera, TV presenter

“ It is more of family time. We eat lots of food, go to church and spend time together. We ensure we have a variety of food on Christmas and open gifts after lunch. It is usually exciting because everyone gets something nice on that day. ”
Grace Nakimera, artiste

“ As a musician, I dedicate those two days to family with the kids. Christmas for us is family time and for children. If there is no eating, it is like there is no Christmas. We spend time together for the children to know it is family time.”
Isaiah Katumwa, artiste

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