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Teaching Children About Holidays and Celebrations

celebrations and holidays


With fall in full swing, there is an endless parade of holidays that need to be considered, prepared for, and participated in.  Through all these engagements, parties, soirees, and events, children tend to get lost in the shuffle. They’re often relegated to the recipients of presents or the ones to find a babysitter for as parents socialize for business or with friends.  However, children want to engage and learn about the world around them. That includes finding out about holidays, why we celebrate them, and how they can actively participate instead of passively receiving limited information. Use the opportunity this time of year provides to teach children about celebrations, and help them create a few traditions of their own.

Why do we celebrate?

It doesn’t have to be any one specific holiday; any of the numerous celebrations falling at the end of the year have us excited and exasperated.  We gather together as humans because we have a need to communally enjoy each other’s company.  We need to believe we are inherently good to each other and for each other.  Holidays such as the upcoming Thanksgiving, remind us to be thankful for one another. It’s important to point out that these are lessons that children need to be taught as well, not just adults.  By promoting human interaction, children learn tolerance and care for fellow human beings. Bringing them to parties or throwing events where they will interact with children and adults alike will create a sense of responsibility for fellow humans. That lesson is important in creating empathy for the lives of others and their highs and lows, seeing them at all stages of their lives.  For better or for worse, holidays bring out the best and worst in humanity, and having a child observe the variations is important so that they can determine for themselves what the best course of action in a given situation should be.

How do we engage our children?

There are numerous ways that children can be brought into the idea of celebrations as a communal function to learn about human interaction.  Cookie baking, pie making, having a craft day where children get to make decorations for the house or the table, these things allow children to grasp at least a part of what the holiday is about.  They also get to participate and see everyone who attends, both children and adults, experience the result of something they worked on, whether it’s a sugar cookie or a construction paper cutout of a turkey done by tracing their fingers.  Whatever they do, large or small, make sure that it is given proper recognition. Everyone should know that your child assisted in the celebration, and they can be a part of the party that’s occurring.

  • Give them something of consequence that has a tangible result. There should be a visible representation of the work they did that can be pointed to and have credit received for.
  • Make this the beginning of a tradition, which will give the child the idea that this is more than just simply a one-time filler activity.
  • Use whatever you decide to do as a teaching moment, explaining the significance and/or the history behind what you’re doing.

Make it a group activity

Holidays themselves are a time for large groups to assemble.  This should be no less the case for children. Take the idea of an activity, craft, or cooking moment and expand it into a party so that they can have their peers experience and learn from the activity as well. Throwing a party that involves a common theme is one of the quickest ways to bring a sense of understanding to kids as to what a holiday or celebration is all about.

Creating a party, even a small one, and letting your child assist in planning will help them to become further immersed in understanding the idea of a celebration.  They can help create the guest list, which will show them how to include people, even if they’re not “best friends,” or someone they know very well, so that everyone can feel welcome.  Have your child write out the invitations, seal them, and mail them. Doing so will instill a sense of pride, because they invited their guests, rather than a parent inviting on their behalf. Finally, have them follow through, calling people who don’t RSVP, getting them to keep count of the number of people coming, and have them help you plan accordingly.

If there’s a cookie party, for instance, get them to make sure there are enough cookie cutters for everyone, enough paper plates put out, enough decorating materials so that everyone can share.  Get them to work alongside you, setting up and cleaning up before and after the party.  Again, it gives a sense of responsibility, and shows them that parties involve work. There’s also the reward of watching guests have a good time and an experience that they won’t forget.  In the end, have him or her write a thank you note to each guest, showing them how much it meant to your child to have each one there.

At National Party Stationery, we have an extensive line of themed invitations and thank yous that your child can help choose from when deciding what kind of party they’re looking to have during the holidays.  View our products today and have a wonderful time showing your child the ins and outs of hosting a party during the holidays, and why it’s so important to we humans as social creatures.


Birthday Parties Make a Difference

Birthday parties are an important rite of passage

Children’s birthday parties are important rites of passage, but they need not be elaborate affairs to be memorable events.

Birthdays, especially for children, are more than simply the acknowledgement of another year having passed since birth.  When kids are developing their sense of identity and understanding their place in the world, the acknowledgement of a birthday helps them to actually understand that they are growing older, increasing their status in society by another year.  In their early developmental period, the birthday party actually means in their mind that they are growing older, and without a party, they cannot increase their age.

As kids grow and mature, these parties may have a different significance, but they are no less beneficial to the social development of children as they learn how to interact with others their own age. Parties need not be elaborate to be meaningful, and there is an increasing trend towards simpler celebrations at home with themed activities rather than elaborate destination events that can easily expand a budget beyond established limits.  Whether or not a party is being hosted at home, the use of themes helps to establish a cohesive idea that can unify the various aspects of a child’s birthday and make it an event that will remain in their memory for years to come.

Birthday Parties Are Rites of Passage

While it’s easy to assume that a young child has a minimal understanding of a birthday party, numerous psychological studies have shown that a child’s understanding of their age is, in their developing years, tied intrinsically to having a birthday party.  Children don’t necessarily understand how aging works on a biological level, so they relate the actual event to how they become older.  The type of event held is far less important than the party itself, so potential expense or size has far less significance.

Additionally, as children get older, the distinction between aging and the party itself becomes separated, but there are still important aspects of parties that help a child grow socially.  Birthday parties are a wonderful opportunity for children to establish and maintain friendships with peers by interacting with them in a non-school setting.  Even as an attendee instead of the guest of honor, a child gets the chance to practice good manners and proper etiquette-both with people their own age and adults-with the use of “please,” “thank you,” and following instructions for various types of participation throughout the day.  The child having the party has the opportunity to learn graciousness when having others come to celebrate his or her important day, and when receiving presents can take the opportunity to thank their friends both in person and with a thank you card after the party to show their appreciation for the thoughtfulness of others.

Why A Home Party Is a Good Choice

An increasing trend is to have more intimate parties at home, moving away from parties at locations such as amusement parks and swimming pools.  With this type of party choice, a theme is a creative and fun way to make the event unique and special without the need for a destination to define its personality.

Some of the benefits of hosting a party in your home are:

  • The ability to control the menu within parameters parents are comfortable (a major reason for the new tendency to host parties at home) with an easier ability to apply any necessary dietary restrictions
  • A location that doesn’t have limitations on what type of decorations can be used or what hours the party can be held
  • Control over the budget and greater flexibility with which areas money can be most effectively spent.

Themes Help Make A Party

Lastly, a theme establishes cohesion when creating an event, which can help to keep a party within budget and while maintaining a memorable time.  A single idea can help determine the type of food served, the decorations used, even what activities can be created to keep children entertained throughout the day.  By determining these factors ahead of time, costs can be kept within reasonable parameters and a single idea can help expand the creative possibilities of the party.  And, most importantly, a themed party provides the opportunity for young ones to participate and plan with you, making the party a memory they won’t forget!

National Party Stationery allows you to begin creating the perfect party theme with our expansive array of invitations that can be customized to suit your planning needs.  Our prices will allow you to easily stay within your chosen budget and will add that personalized touch to make a special day that much more memorable for your child.

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