It’s that time again; the first of December and the first day when your children can open a door on their advent calendars. If you’re anything like me, you have bought some cheap combination of cartoon characters and inexpensive chocolate that will keep them happy and entertained throughout December. But how can you make the advent experience a more magical one?
Often, parents end up forgetting about the advent calendar. Then they end up with a sugar-hyper child who’s eaten seven days’ worth of chocolate at once! Make sure you remember to do the advent calendar once a day, by setting an alarm on your phone reminding you to.
For small children like my 3-year-old, an advent calendar is a way to keep track of Christmas as it draws night. Unfortunately, commercially produced advent calendars often don’t help with this venture as they necessitate some searching to find the correct day and are, therefore, not easy to oversee. This can be resolved easily by downloading a free advent calendar online and letting your child or children cross out each day as it passes; this makes it easier for them to see, at a glance, how far away Christmas is.
An alternative is investing in a more expensive advent system. Local novelty shops may contain sets of drawers which treats can be secreted into, and which make it much simpler to see where the 25th is compared to the drawer you’re emptying today. Not only is this a great way for your child to enjoy the run-up to Christmas, it’s also a wonderful way to help him or her grasp time and its passage.
An even more charming way to count the advent is by making a list of Christmas preparations your child can, and wants to, help with. Ticking these off will help your child get ready and help the Christmas spirit slowly permeate your home. Or, with bits of felt and some glue, you can make a two-dimensional Christmas tree, glue on 25 Velcro strips and make and decorate a felt bauble every day until the big day arrives.
This is quickly and easily made; simply cut a Christmas tree shape out of green felt, hang it on your child’s bedroom wall or door, and stick Velcro strips all over it. You can purchase sticky Velcro, meaning you can easily stick the other part onto the baubles your child cuts out of multi-coloured felt and decorates with buttons, stickers, ribbons and other paraphernalia throughout the countdown to Christmas. Don’t forget to cut a number out each day to label the baubles according to the date.
If you need something that’s cheaper than cheap (and don’t we all, when the holidays are approaching with the associated expenditures?) then simply print off a grid showing every day of the month and let your child glue or sello-tape the door off their advent calendar into the square for the corresponding day every day as they get ready to have their chocolate. This too allows them to see the day coming.
Advent is a wonderful way to help your child grasp the coming holidays and the passage of time on a day-to-day basis. Use it carefully and you can make it into a positive part of your child’s holidays!