Jamaica Gleaner
Published: Monday | December 6, 2010
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Christmas activities for kids
practising for performances will be able to use space provided by the Junior Centre at the IOJ. A scene from Neila Ebanks' 'That Blooming Thing'. Getting kids involved in productions for the season is a great way to keep them active. File
Laura Redpath, Staff Reporter

Making a note of the right events and finding suitable activities for children who have their turbulent teen years can be challenging, as Vannette Coleman, a mother of teenagers, will tell you.

Smack in the middle of the Christmas season, this mother has a full plate with making sure her 17-year-old and 15-year-old sons are occupied during the lull in the school year.

"Both of them will be doing CSEC next year, so they'll be studying," she said. "They don't usually do a lot of studying over the holidays, but I will definitely encourage them."

She noted that since her boys have hit puberty, they are less interested in familial activities.

"My 15-year-old thinks he's grown up, and I can't really hug and kiss him anymore. Both boys are going through changes, but I still spend time with them and try and do things they're interested in," Coleman said.

She noted that patience, understanding and love are the three key elements in maintaining a good relationship with children right through their teenage years.

At-home activities

Both boys enjoy playing football and, as Coleman puts it, are "video game, television and computer addicts".

"We were planning on sending them away for the holidays, but that didn't work out," she said.

As a result, they will be spending a lot of their time at home and Coleman plans on getting them involved in the spirited Christmas preparations.

"We normally go downtown on Grand Market night and walk up and down. We will also have movie nights, and they will help me cook.

"But they can't bake," she said with a chuckle.

Meanwhile, the worldwide acceptance of Christmas has allowed traditions to transcend geographical and religious boundaries.

Taking performances into consideration, Lisa Wilson, acting director of the School of Dance at the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts, noted that North American children would be preparing for The Nutcracker, a two-act ballet usually performed at Christmas time.

However, Jonkunnu parades, church productions or cantatas, and school plays involving the nativity scene make up the entertainment to be found in cool Jamaica at Christmas time.

Other activities

If your child missed the opportunity to audition for a role in a Christmas pageant, or has stage fright, there are other more low-keyed Christmas activities to get involved with:

1. Take your children to see the Dance School faculty concert.

2. Become involved with the Junior Centre at the Institute of Jamaica (IOJ). Children will have access to the library on the holidays, and may take friends to practise dance moves or speech productions for the upcoming Jamaica Cultural Development Commission Festival of Arts competition. Registration for other after-school activities at the IOJ includes a fee of $100, and $100 for every week.

3. Take your children to see the exhibitions at the Institute of Jamaica. Two of the ongoing exhibitions are 'Obeah Power' and 'Lest we Forget' - a celebration of Jamaicans and their contributions to both world wars.

4. Grand Market night. This can become very busy and crowded, so hold on tight to your young ones as you navigate the bustling streets and shops.

5. Make it a family Christmas affair and get the house ready for the Christmas season, which may include giving that bedroom the extra scrub it needs.

6. Take your children Christmas shopping and encourage them to be a part of decision-making process when it comes to choosing gifts.

7. Encourage your children to make gifts instead of buying them. Christmas arts and crafts will keep them busy.

8. Encourage family time and take your children across the country to see grandma and grandpa, especially if you spent Christmas without them last year.

9. Check with local bookshops to see what activities, such as book readings or art and craft events, will be taking place during the Christmas holidays.

Source: http://www.cool-kids-jamaica.com/christmas-activities.html

10 If your child is content with being at home during the Christmas break, then indulge in Christmas activities with them. Baking is one such activity. Encourage your child to get involved in the kitchen and mix that special Christmas cake batter or Christmas sorrel.

Photo by Laura Redpath

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