DECEMBER 2020
Greetings!

CELEBRATING THE HOLIDAYS DURING THE PANDEMIC
The holidays upon us—and the challenges and uncertainty of the coronavirus pandemic still ongoing—you may be wondering how to help your child cope with things being different this year. There are some great suggestions found in a Connecticut Pediatric Psychology blog for families with young children. 

0-3 years of age: Focus on the quality time and don’t worry about the details.
  • It is okay to keep things very simple in terms of celebration and explanations.
  • All children benefit from quiet down time to feel love and attention from parents. This is a perfect season to indulge kids with affection.
  • This age group will not be able to recall events from holidays past and therefore don’t have expectations for this holiday season.
4-6 years of age: Create new, quarantine-approved holiday traditions.
  • Establish traditions within your immediate family: make holiday decorations, make a home-made gift, cook a special meal
  • Instead of in-person visits from family, friends, or even Santa, consider fun ways to have video interaction, draw pictures to mail, or make cards
  • Find the positive and teach positive self-talk…since we aren’t traveling this year, we get extra time to play and relax! 
UPCOMING EVENTS
FUN DAYS IN DECEMBER
Join us in participating in December FUN!

December 3: Winter themed shirt

December 11: PAJAMA Day!

December 15: Favorite (or ugliest) sweater

December 23: Hat Day
PARENT REMINDERS
CENTER CLOSURES
Please mark your calendars in preparation for the holiday season:

 EFC will be closed the following days:
  • Christmas Eve: Thursday, 12/24
  • Christmas Day: Friday, 12/25
  • New Year’s Day: Friday, 1/1

We wish everyone a very happy and healthy holiday season!
IN THE COMMUNITY
UPCOMING LOCAL EVENTS
Continue to check your favorite places to take your kiddos during the holidays. Many places are offering virtual and alternative ways to keep events happening.

Stages Theatre: Twas the Night: Out of the Box Experience You receive a box of goodies mailed to you along with theater times to watch the show at home at your own pace. www.stagestheatre.org

Sever’s Holiday Lights: The light show is a drive-through experience programmed to music that plays though your vehicle. You can drive through as many times as you wish with your ticket. Visit seversholidaylights.com

Minnesota Arboretum: Grounds and buildings are open with an online reservation. A great place to explore outside on a warm winter day. www.arb.umn.edu

Bachman’s Santa and Albert the Elf: Bachman’s has a long-time tradition of offering a holiday play with Santa and Albert the Elf. This year it can be experienced via Bachman’s Facebook and Instagram pages live Saturday mornings at 10:00 am beginning November 21-December 19. Check out their website at www.bachmans.com as you can write a letter to Santa that might be read on his broadcast. (FYI—this is the same Santa that used to visit EFC in previous years and he’s excellent!)

MN Zoo Nature Illuminated: December 3 - January 17. www.mnzoo.org

Three Rivers Park District: Offers so many great outdoor family events all winter long. Search Three Rivers Park District and you will find things at Gale Woods Farms and other local parks.

PARENT RESOURCES
FAMILY FUN
If you are looking for an activity to do while at home, here is the playdough recipe we use at EFC. Have fun mixing up a batch together!

INGREDIENTS:
1 cup flour
2 tbsp oil
1 cup water
½ cup salt
2 tsp cream of tartar

DIRECTIONS:
Heat water and oil in microwave, but do not boil. Add food coloring or food color paste (found in the cake section at Michael’s) of your choice. Mix the dry ingredients in a bowl. Using a wire whisk, add the dry ingredients to the water, little by little. Continue to stir until the mixture forms a mass, then knead play dough by hand until it feels smooth. Caution: may be hot – when cool, ENJOY!
ESPECIALLY FOR PARENTS
FINDING MEANING IN THE PITS
By Angie Williams

At times during the pandemic, this column has felt a bit tricky to write. I often draw on my own experiences as a mom of two young daughters, but in spite of the fact that we successfully baked cookies last weekend and even created homemade Thanksgiving name cards, many days it feels that we are just getting through it. Perhaps you are experiencing the same in your own life and/or work. Happily, there is good news on the vaccine front, and you can almost feel the hope and light at the end of the tunnel.

We still have a few challenging months ahead, so I’ve been thinking about what messages may resonate as we all seek to dig deep and press on until we reach the other side. I remembered the story of Viktor Frankl, a psychiatrist, neurologist, and concentration camp inmate during World War II. As he lived through one of the most horrific experiences in recent history and observed his fellow inmates attempt to cope (really, to survive), he developed a theory that those who persevered best were the ones who were able to establish meaning in their lives. In Frankl’s view, meaning can be found through:

  • Experiencing reality by interacting authentically with the environment and with others,
  • Giving something back to the world through creativity and self-expression, and
  • Changing our attitude when faced with a situation or circumstance that we cannot change.

For many of us, our experiences and interactions have become more limited in nature, and we may be dealing with hardship in various aspects of our lives. But I appreciate how Frankl identifies that no matter what we are facing, there are always opportunities to create something good for ourselves, our families, and the community around us. I hope this message of meaning brings some encouragement and inspiration to you as you balance all that life requires right now.

This morning a friend randomly dropped off a book on my porch called Stitches: A Handbook on Meaning, Hope and Repair (which, frankly, felt like a not-very-subtle nudge from the universe). The quote on the back says:

“Where is meaning in the meteoric passage of time…where is meaning in the pits?...I think these questions are worth asking.”
– Anne Lamott

As we move through the months ahead, I hope to reflect on meaning and how it can be uncovered or created (if only with cookies!) even in these strange and difficult—but fortunately, impermanent— times.
Angie Williams
EFC Marketing Director
Especially for Children
3370 Coachman Rd. 
Eagan, MN 55121 
(651) 452-0043 

Center Directors:
Bri Dieffenbach and Kate Beck
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