Tips for the Christmas Season in Mission Friends

Cambodian Nativity WorldCrafts

Christmas is my favorite time of year! I love everything about it: decorating the tree, setting out my Nativities, sending and receiving cards, baking goodies, singing Christmas songs, and wrapping Christmas presents. There are family traditions that we all like to keep. One tradition in my family is ordering pizza on Christmas Eve after a day in the kitchen preparing all the Christmas dishes for the next day. Other favorites are the choir Christmas program that I love, my Sunday School class party, and I always want to do something for my Mission Friends. Even though all of these activities are good and many of them direct me to focus on Christ’s coming, it can easily become overwhelming to try to get everything in.

This is true for the families of our preschoolers too. The most wonderful time of the year can quickly turn into the most stressful time of the year. Each family has to juggle events with his family and her family, at the preschooler’s day care center, at their siblings’ schools, in the community, and at church. These are all good things, but we sometimes see the effects as preschoolers come to Mission Friends exhausted. One year we even had one of our Mission Friends who fell asleep during activity time with her head on the table.

Keep the following tips in mind as you plan for December in Mission Friends.

  • Focus on the real meaning of Christmas. Provide a child-friendly Nativity set. Place preschool books about Christ’s birth in the Books area. Put Bible story pictures about Jesus’ birth on walls or a bulletin board in your Mission Friends classroom.

  • ŸKeep a regular session schedule in Mission Friends as much as possible. Preschoolers transition better when they follow a schedule and know what is happening next.

  • Make your special snacks less sugary. Have pretzel treats, holiday snack mix using Christmas-colored cereal, or dip veggie sticks in applesauce. Remember to post the allergy alert chart.

  • ŸRepeat an activity that preschoolers enjoy. If your preschoolers enjoy using the tote bags to pretend to travel as suggested in Mission Friends Leader for December Session 1, 3s and 4s, provide the tote bags again later in the month. The familiarity of an activity is sometimes a relief to preschoolers who are overscheduled.

  • Provide a cozy place for quiet activities, such as a place to read books or put a puzzle together. This gives a preschooler the opportunity to calm himself.

  • Involve your Mission Friends in doing something to help others during the Christmas season. Helping Others activities are suggested in Mission Friends Leader, First Steps in Missions, vol. 24, and Big Enough to Help Others. Even the simplest of Helping Others activities will help preschoolers focus on the needs of others.

  • Keep your eyes open for the preschooler who is tired or upset. You might let him sit beside you at Group Time to hold the pictures, or be your helper in another way during the session.

The Christmas season is a wonderful time of year for preschoolers. Take time with your preschoolers in Mission Friends by sitting and talking with them during activities rather than trying to pack too many things into a session. Keep the focus throughout this Christmas season on missions and teaching that God loved us so much that He sent His Son.

The child-friendly Cambodian Nativity pictured is available from WorldCrafts.

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