As we head into the holidays

Kids at Good Morning Creative Arts and Preschool benefit from school routine and structure, but that still means getting down and silly!   Photo: Karen Cameron

By Karen Cameron

As we head into the holidays, parents will be spending more time with their toddlers and preschoolers at home. The educators at Good Morning have been brainstorming some ideas to support your child during this time to enable a smooth transition back to programs in the New Year.

Children thrive with structure and routine; it has been challenging for parents to nurture this part of development during the pandemic. Being at home while trying to stay safe limited opportunities for children to further social and emotional development with their own peer group – during lockdowns, there were no library visits, no music and movement classes, no swimming lessons. Even preschools were closed for a time last year. We are seeing the effects of this on children in our programs and we want to help parents with ideas on how to incorporate structure into playtime.

Hopefully these ideas of how to play “school” will give parents a glimpse into their child’s day and offer some support to families at home this winter:

  • Have a look at your child’s daily schedule from their program and consider mimicking this loosely at home over the holidays. This will help them feel more secure when returning to group care as it creates continuity and predictability.

“First/then” statements can ease transitions within the routines. “First, we tidy up, then we read a story.” “First we wash hands, then we have a snack.” And so on.

  • Have circle time. Sit on the floor with your child, put some animals in a bag and sing Old MacDonald (or another interactive song), revealing one animal at a time. Try to have them wait until you reveal the animal so they can practise patience. This will help the educators when they do the same thing in “real” circle time.
  • Read a book like the teachers do, with the child sitting on the floor facing you rather than on your lap. Ask your child to predict what’s going to happen next.
  • Get up and get silly together by playing some music and shaking those sillies out. This is great for both of you!
  • Encourage child-directed play. Follow their lead, whether it’s cooking cars in the play kitchen, playing hide and go seek with animals under the couch or doing silly walks up and down the hallway. Kids are great at creating their own fun!
  • Tidy up time. Have your child help with tidying up before you move on to another activity. This doesn’t have to be a full-on cleanup, but make them responsible for putting toys in a bin or basket. Offering clear directions increases the likelihood of success for preschoolers: “Put the dinosaurs in the blue bin.” Responsibility helps build confidence and self-esteem.
  • Snack time. Now that the toys are put away, you can sit for snack or lunch time. Have a sit and chat with them as this is a great opportunity to build language skills. Give them one or two of whatever you prepared and model asking for more food. “May I have more apple, please?” Food is a great motivator if you are building language. It may start with just “more,” then move on to “more please” and then to “more apple please.” It will eventually become a fully formed sentence. Celebrate their successes in language with lots of high fives and cheering – the smiles are worth it!

Enjoy your time with your little ones. We hope you have easy days and many fun family moments! We can’t wait to see all of our friends again in the New Year. Parents who are interested in further information about Good Morning Creative Arts and Preschool programs can check out our website at, or contact the school by phone at 613-276-7974 or email at We are accepting applications for the New Year with spaces available in our Toddler, Preschool & Beyond and Creative Arts After School programs.

Karen Cameron is the director of Good Morning Creative Arts and Preschool.

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