Christmas with your baby was special, and you likely have many meaningful pictures and mementoes of the special occasion. But as your baby becomes a toddler, you’ll find yourself even more excited about Christmas and the holiday season because your child is starting to share your enthusiasm.
Making Christmas fun and safe for toddlers can take a bit of extra work, but with just a little planning and more than a bit of holiday cheer and patience, your family Christmas will be extra special this year.
Salt dough ornaments are fun for toddlers to help create and they make great
stocking stuffers for family members. Have your toddler help you make ornaments by cutting out salt dough creations using plastic cookie cutters and then, after baking and cooling off, finger painting on the resulting ornaments. Red and green poster paint on the hard salt dough works well and if you write his name on the back and the date, and then glaze the ornaments, close family members will have a memento to treasure forever.
When it’s time to set up the tree, you can expect your toddler to provide his own sort of help – often it’s helping to unpack the ornaments and then placing them on and taking them off the tree. Invest in a large collection of nice, plastic balls to replace the glass ones you might have used in past Christmases.
Keep your special ornaments well over his head and then let him go to town placing those plastic balls wherever he’d like on the tree. If he’s more interested in taking them off the tree when you put them on, take a break from decorating to play with him and his pretty new toys. You can finish decorating the tree eventually, but it will likely stay a favorite toy for a while, so keep the kid-friendly ornaments low the rest put away or up high.
Picking presents for toddlers is much more fun than picking them for babies – at least for Dad. Babies don’t have many options for play since they don’t move much for the first nine months of their life, but toddlers can run, play, hit, stack and do all kinds of new things every month. Encourage these skills by skipping electronic toys and opting for things that keep your child active. Introduce him to riding toys and wooden blocks. You can even build find motor skills by giving him his first coloring book and colors – there are some great ones for little hands and others that don’t mark on the floor or furniture.
Finally, Santa becomes very real if he’s someone your family associates with Christmas. You can talk him up and plan a big outing to meet Santa. Seeing Santa and going through the motions of preparing his cookies and milk on Christmas Eve will be fun. Especially with the help of your toddler who’s starry-eyed at the prospect of the jolly old elf visiting during the night.
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