So the holiday season is upon us, and that means you and your child can kick back and relax and enjoy the holiday cheer, right? Sure! But all those fun exciting holiday events are more work for your child than you may think.
While it may seem that a holiday outing will be a relaxing time for you and your child, many of the holiday events around town require a lot of energy and skills to complete without your child having a total meltdown (and for you too, I imagine!)
Read below for the top holiday events in the Inland Empire, and the corresponding skills your child will be practicing when she attends them.
Event: The Holiday Promenade in the Claremont Village, Claremont
What it is: On December 1st from 5-8pm you and your child will experience live entertainment, a tree lighting ceremony, and a visit from Santa at Claremont City Hall.
What your child will be practicing: Social skills development. Your child will have to use patience to wait in line, say “please” and “thank you” for cocoa, take turns with Santa, and express graciousness as she listens to carolers. Your kid may need support from you throughout the event. You’ll have fun but don’t be surprised if you both go home exhausted!
Event: The Nutcracker at Bridges Auditorium, Claremont
What it is: A children’s classic holiday ballet performed by the Inland Pacific Ballet, on December 9th and 10th.
What your child will be practicing: Sitting still. Any parent who brings their young child to the theater is brave. I myself have to admit I struggle with sitting still. If your little one has a wiggle body, opt for a shorter play. You want your child to leave successful, not frustrated.
Event: Luminaria Nights at the Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden
What it is: A candlelit walk through the Botanic Garden. The pathway is illuminated with hundreds of real candles. Event is December 8–9 and 15– 16.
What your child will be practicing: Looking without touching. These are real flames lighting the pathway, so temptation is there the whole mile-long walk. And in case that wasn’t enough for your child to work on, here’s an additional skill: quiet voices. A significant part of the walk is in the woods, a time where many of the attendees are reflecting.
Event: 41st Annual City of Upland Christmas Parade
What it is: A Christmas parade on December 9th in Historic Downtown Upland. Holiday fair to follow.
What your child will be practicing: So many skills for this event! One is body boundaries. Parades mean lots of people cramped together, attempting to get the best viewpoint. Your child will be working on coping with sensory issues, especially if she struggles a bit with claustrophobia. A bonus skill will be practicing gentle touches, so no pushing. Also, attentiveness and awareness is an important skill because of all the people around. And if you have a young child that tends to wander? Your child will have to work on her listening skills as you encourage her to stay close.
Event: Rancho Cucamonga Thoroughbred Street Christmas Lights Display
What it is: Drive thru light display in a Rancho Cucamonga neighborhood from December 15th to the 24th.
What your child will be practicing: Communication. This year the city council has made it a car-only event, meaning no pedestrians allowed on the streets to see the homes. This event is so popular that estimated wait time may keep you and your child together in the car for 2+ hours. So working on family communication is key. Talking about likes, dislikes, observing what you see, and discussing how you feel, without taking it out on each other, will definitely be an exhausting but worthwhile challenge!
Bottom line: Your child is working hard on skill development all day long, all year long. Even though the event is meant to be fun, it doesn’t mean it will be easy. When you finish, take some time to praise your child (and yourself) for the specific skills your child worked on and a day well done.
Please comment below: What’s your favorite holiday event you do with your child? What skills is your child (and you!) working on?
Jenmarie Eadie is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who is passionate about helping children to become less stressed by giving them and their parents tools, support and encouragement. She received her Master’s in Social Work from Arizona State with a dual concentration in Children, Youth, and Families; and Behavioral Health.