“Saint, Saint Martin, cows have tails,” the voice may sound at your door several times tonight. Sint Maarten brings with him enough joy and lights, but this evening also contains instructions for use. What to do and what not to do for the residents at the door and above all: how can you make it as fun as possible for the kids tonight? NH Nieuws offers some advice!
As beautiful as the idea behind Sint Maarten is, not everyone is waiting for the kids begging at the door. “Is it Saint Martin today? Then I’ll go out to dinner,” is an excuse he often hears to avoid the kids’ party. Many parents use “or the baby sleeps” to avoid having to open the door. It is recognizable, right?
This year, too, locals are faced with a choice: will the bags of candy be stocked generously, or will the door remain closed. If you choose the former and want to make singing children more fun, child psychologist and nanny Tischa Neve from Bussemsse offers tips for a successful Sint Maarten evening.
What do we celebrate with Saint Martin?
It is the name day of Martin of Tours, a soldier in the Roman army. One day he met a beggar in the French town of Amiens. With his sword Martin cut his cloak in half and gave the half to the beggar. It became a symbol of mercy and solidarity. Not long after his death, Martin was canonized.
Tip 1: Light up in front of the door
For the kids who are walking their parents tonight, it’s so nice to know where they can and can’t ring the bell. What residents are increasingly doing is putting a light in front of the door. “It’s good for people to make sure they are showing the kids that they are welcome,” Tisha explains.
“It could be done with a candle by the door or with a lamp. I see people doing it more and more and I think it’s very good to see.”
The photo below was taken during Corona. In closing last year, kids couldn’t ring the neighbor’s doorbell, and residents came up with fun ways to surprise kids with cute lights and candy. The text continues after the image.
Second tip: dessert
Sint Maarten also means: candy. The kids will come home with bags full of candy at the end of their rides. “It’s good to think a little about what we give the kids. Not with all the plastic, cases and big things.” Just keep it small and manageable, says Tisha. There is no shortage of sweets for kids during Saint Martin. We don’t have to make it complicated for them.
You can also choose to replace the candy with something healthier. “Mandarin oranges haven’t been very nice in the past,” she jokes, “but it’s good to think a little about what you’re giving kids. Also focus on the environment.”
Tip 3: Listen carefully
We tend to quickly open the door between our TV shows when the doorbell rings, listen to sing, and then fall back on the couch. But according to Tischa, it’s important for a child to tell them that you’re listening. “Listen carefully and also look at the lanterns that children have made.” This way you give children the feeling that they are being listened to.
The goal here is not so much to say: what is good or what is bad, but to tell you how beautiful and how cute the lantern looks. Tisha explains: “For example, you can say: ‘How nice it is that you care so much for her.’ This way you show that you are still standing.
Tip 4: Challenge the kids
Not only will there be young children on their feet tonight, but there will also be older children without their parents. And many of those kids in particular want to play St. Martin’s songs at the door again. “For example, you can ask if they want to sing another song.”
This way they are more careful about what exactly they are doing this evening. Then it becomes a kind of principle: “If you do something, you get something,” she explains. According to her, children should take into account that singing and socializing are the goal of Saint Martin, and not sweets.
Tip 5: What if you really can’t open it
It may also be that you can’t really open the door. You are sick, or you forgot to buy candy. “Then close the curtains well, so that the children do not see that you are in the living room.” According to Tischa, you can also put a note on the door with the reason why it won’t open.
It also provides advice for parents who walk with the children themselves in this situation. “Explain to your child that some people are too old to open the door or find it annoying to tell them they forgot to buy candy.” According to her, the point is not to show your child how appropriate it is for someone not to answer, but to show that there are reasons for someone not answering.
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