Meeting the Kids in the Middle during Christmas Break Christmas break heralds in a new spirit and a break from some of your normal responsibilities. For the past four months, you’ve been taxying your children to and from school every weekday, not to mention the time you spend shuttling them from piano practice to soccer games and performances. Now that the kids are off for two or three weeks, you finally get that travelling time back to do some of the other things you’ve wanted to get done for the past four months. Some of those priorities often include getting a few things done with the kids that school has made it impossible for them to get to. Everything medical related has likely been postponed up to this point. Medical related offices are often only open for about 8 hours a day. Those 8 hours often correspond with the same 8 hours that parents work. Due to the bad timing, children haven’t seen a doctor or dentist in Santa Cruz for a while. Making Use of the Break This break is the perfect time to get the kids there. Some dentists in Santa Cruz offer holiday deals to help get your work done at a discounted price. Medical procedures and visits can cost quite a bit of money out of pocket. This is especially true if the children have a sickness, cavities, or simply don’t have insurance coverage to help take care of the cost. Families eat discounts up for these medical related visits like candy. Residents should take a look at the listings for local doctors and dentists in Santa Cruz to see if they can snag any deals for cheaper visits. This is also a time to finally get the kids the things they need for the coming semester of school. Some of their clothes or supplies might be running a bit ragged already. Take a nice morning to visit a local clothing retailer of school supplier to find what they need. Do it early in the day and have the afternoon off for once. The kids will likely have complaints that they don’t want to go see the dentist, or they don’t want to shop for new clothes. They would much rather stay at home or go play with their friends. Their attitudes can often put a damper on the day’s plans and make getting anything done that day like pulling teeth. It’s their vacation and they want to spend it doing whatever they want. They have a good point. They’ve likely been looking forward to getting the time off to do anything but work. Making the Most of the Time Simple “chores” like buying things that mom or dad say they need, as opposed to what they want, can seem like quite a chore to them. Long story short, some children might not want to spend their days off trying on new jeans. Fortunately, there is a way to keep them from complaining too much when you need to get things done. That is to help them accomplish their goals. Ask them what they want to do this break. When they say, “Play with Billy down the street,” encourage them in that idea. As long as the idea is something you don’t disapprove of, don’t let it be a problem. Set up a time for them to play together in the afternoon. Let them know that you’ve planned out their afternoon for them to play with Billy and let them get really excited about it. Now that their excited about doing what they want to do later, take them to the dentist in Santa Cruz or the retailer in the morning to take care of their other needs. This can work if the appointment doesn’t interfere with their “time with Billy.” It’s their vacation— bargain their time to make them happy while taking care of their needs at the same time.