The holidays can be an exhilarating time for children and wildly stressful for parents and caregivers. Read on to learn some tips and tricks for minimizing stress during the holiday season so that you and your kids can build happy holiday memories.
Stick to the routine and be ok with it if the routine doesn't go to plan
Kids thrive on consistency and knowing what to expect. Therefore, try your best to keep them on their normal routine. Keep their bedtime and wake time the same as usual, rules and expectations the same as other times of the year and play times the same length and time as usual. Chores still have to be done in December!
However, part of the holiday stress is the change in routines. If you can’t maintain the routine or decide to switch things up, don’t fret! Your child may have a tougher day with a change in routine; However, being flexible to changes is still a wonderful life skill for kids to learn. Give less flexible kids warning if a change is coming up. You and your kids can handle it!
Set expectations before something exciting happens
Do you have fun holiday events planned for your children? Children can have a hard time remembering what good behavior looks like when they are excited. Help them rise to your expectations by taking a few moments before an activity starts to remind them of the behaviors you want to see. Going into a busy mall to meet Santa? Remind them that they are expected to walk with you and wait in line. Big family dinner? Remind them to use inside voices in the house and to stay in their seats during dinner. Whatever you would like to see them do, communicate that with them ahead of time.
Plan for Peace
Don’t overschedule yourself and your family. It’s ok to pass on events that will drain you or stress/overexcite your kids! Try selecting 1 - 2 holiday traditions that are most important to your family and prioritize those. Then allow yourself to be ok with letting the others go or doing them only if you feel up for it. Consider deliberately planning quiet and rest into your holiday season. Pick a night for a holiday movie night for your kids or plan holiday reading days.
Ask and allow them to help
Creating holiday magic often falls solely on parents’ shoulders. Consider how your child can help you to create the holiday season! Think of all the work that goes into the holiday season and consider what your kids could take on. Offering them ways to help with their home allows them to build their self-esteem and take pride in their home and their work. Can your teen plan the grocery list for the holiday meal? Could your older kids help you select and wrap their younger siblings’ presents? Can your little one help sweep the floor after cookie baking or decide where decorations should be placed? Offer ways the whole family can participate in making the holidays merry and bright.
If you and your child are struggling this holiday season, please know that Oasis Springs Children’s Counseling Center is here to help. Call us anytime at 719-407-2093.