‘Tis the Season for Conversation, Communication, and Connection
Making the Most of the Bonding Opportunities the Holidays Bring
The holiday season is supposed to be all about family time, but true bonding can be lost in the holiday shuffle—whether it’s the stress of seemingly endless holiday prep, constant interference from our mobile devices, or something else. Here are some prime opportunities to maximize conversation, communication, and connection this holiday season, from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA):
- In the Kitchen—Kids can make cooking a bit more complicated, but it’s also a great opportunity to build vocabulary, learn math concepts, talk, bond, and just have fun. Tackle a side dish together or a new cookie recipe for the holidays. Added bonus: It’s very difficult to use a tablet (or do anything else!) when you’re getting your hands dirty in the kitchen.
- On the Road (or in the Air)—Do your holiday plans include some extended travel time, in the car or in the air? More than any other time, parents can feel that tablets or smartphones with headphones are an absolute necessity for their kids. While they certainly can come in handy on a long flight if your child is complaining or disrupting others, there’s no need for a preemptive strike. There is so much to talk about—the different surroundings, where you are going, and what you are going to do when you get there. The same is true of car time. Many adults have fond memories of playing the license plate game or goofing off with siblings during road trips. Not to mention the benefits of boredom and allowing kids time to use their imagination. Try to avoid defaulting to tech immediately—and talk instead!
- Around the Dinner Table—Sure, families should strive for family dinners year-round. But during the holidays, everyone may have a few days (or even a week or longer!) of a reprieve from common barriers to family dinners, such as late afternoon work meetings or sports practices/games. Make the most of this time together!
- During Gift Wrapping or Card Writing—This is an activity that often falls to parents, but kids can participate in wrapping gifts for cousins or other relatives. Again, this is a great time to keep your hands busy (device-free!) while talking, listening to holiday music, and enjoying each other’s company. The same is true for writing—and stuffing and stamping—holiday cards.
- While Volunteering—This is a great way to connect as a family while doing something to help others. Even younger children can participate in picking out gifts for a holiday toy drive or nonperishable food items for a food bank. Family-friendly walks and fun runs as well as a host of other options are available as well, year round but especially around the holidays. Your experience may be something you talk about together for a long time—and is yet another way to prioritize people over objects this season.
Learn more at www.communicationandtech.org.
The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) is the national professional, scientific, and credentialing association for 198,000 members and affiliates who are audiologists; speech-language pathologists; speech, language, and hearing scientists; audiology and speech-language pathology support personnel; and students. Audiologists specialize in preventing and assessing hearing and balance disorders as well as providing audiologic treatment, including hearing aids. Speech-language pathologists identify, assess, and treat speech and language problems, including swallowing disorders.