‘Tis the season everyone! The holidays are officially upon us. There is no turning back now! Plus, we have an extra week between Thanksgiving and Christmas, so the craziness continues even longer than usual. Just what every parent wants to hear, right? Holiday parties, school performances, traveling, and goodies galore can make for a hectic holiday that might not feel so merry. Here are 3 tips to help you handle the holiday hustle .
- Stick to the script. I’ve said it before, and I will say it again. Routine, routine, routine. This is what makes our children feel safe, secure, and in control of their worlds. It’s a constant in the midst of a season that feels anything but familiar. Is it okay to stay up late and visit with relatives? Sure! Going on a late night excursion to look at Christmas lights? Absolutely! Then, get right back on track. Stick to bedtimes, nap times, and meal times as much as you can. What seems fun for us may be stressful for our kids, and too much change can cause all kinds of less than Santa Claus pleasing behaviors. Plus, it makes the holiday detox that much easier if you haven’t gone too far off the path.
- Advertise ahead of time. Children respond best when they know what is coming and when they are prepared for the transition. Even though the activities are fun events that will be enjoyable to them, they still benefit from having a heads up. “Today is a special day! It is a short day at school, then I will join you for your class party, and we will come home early!” Let them know what’s coming so they can prepare, and never underestimate the impact this can have. Younger children do best with a rundown of the day’s events the morning of, while older children might benefit from a calendar that outlines their week. Pay special attention to your child who thrives on structure and routine, and be sure to give him or her extra TLC around this time of year.
- Remember the reason. During my teaching years, I was always struck by how focused the kids were on what they were GETTING. That’s normal for sure, but it was rare to hear a child talk about how good it feels to GIVE. Now as a parent myself, I have no doubt those parents emphasized the importance of giving at home, and that they did their best to help their children fall in love with that part of the season, but it goes to show us that we have to do more. More involvement shopping for siblings and other family members, more discussion about the stories behind the holidays, and more opportunities to extend special kindnesses to others. When we think that we are doing enough of this, we need to do more. Santa is hard to compete with, but we owe it to our children to teach them to deepen their hearts and to carry that through the new year.
Three simple things that can make a big difference. Bring on the holidays! Enjoy the magical ride!
Find the joy~