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12 Days of Christmas Preparations for Foster and Adoptive Parents

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7 of 12

12 Days of Christmas Preparations: Day 7 - Seven Teaching Moments
A bunch of children take their turn while playing a board game. Many lessons can be learned playing.

Taking turns during a board game is just one lesson children can learn while playing.

Photo © Carrie Craft, licensed to About.com, Inc.

On the seventh day of Christmas Preparations, my true love gave to me:
Seven teaching moments,
Six memories a-haunting,
Five golden rules,
Four fighting kids,
Three snow days,
Two calling workers
and a well planned respite weekend.

The opportunity to teach doesn't stop - not even for a holiday break. What other holiday teaching moments can you think of? Here's what I came up with:

Seven Teaching Moments

  1. Receiving Gifts - I know we've mentioned this one several times during these 12 Days of Christmas Preparations, but it's important. I feel this way because I've dealt with it as a foster parent and it was no fun. I wish we would have tried to teach this skill more. Something that might be fun is to role play with the child. Take turns pretending to open a gift you don't like and then pretend to open a gift you do like. Have fun with this activity and be goofy.

  2. Giving Gifts - Another aspect of the gift giving season. Help children give gifts too. We usually give each of our children a bit of money and take them shopping. Help them see outside of themselves and pick things the other person would enjoy. Not just things that child would like to receive.

  3. Saying Goodbye - Holidays often mean visiting family and then of course, saying goodbye to family. Help the child say goodbye by reminding them of when it's getting closer to the end of the visit. "Grandma will be going home in 15 minutes. This allows the child a bit of time to unwind and prepare. It may also be positive to remind the child of how great the holiday visit has been and that they will see that family member again.

  4. Taking Turns - There are also many opportunities to learn the skill of taking turns. This may be at the dinner table when the dishes are passed or while playing a new board game. Role model appropriate turn taking skills and gently remind the child to do the same.

  5. Helping Others - Another holiday tradition is sometimes the simple act of thinking of others and offering a helping hand. Teach the children to help clean-up the dishes after dinner, or pick up trash after opening presents. There are always ways a child can help at any age.

  6. Saying Hello - Holidays are also a time of meeting new people, especially visiting family. Allow the child space if he is shy, but many children with boundary issues may crawl right up into the lap of any new person they meet. This may be a teaching moment for the adults too, because for a child working on boundary issues, this is not okay behavior. Explain to the relatives that while you appreciate their affection for your child, your child needs to learn appropriate boundaries and can sit next to them on the coach, but not on their lap.

  7. Hope and Magic of the Season - Help the child enjoy a bit of the wonder and magic of the holiday. Whatever your religious viewpoint, there is always the opportunity to teach the bigger meaning behind the season. Whether that is Christian in nature or simply remembering those we care about.

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