Adults routinely complain about the craziness of the holidays and the additional demands they feel as the season approaches. While it’s an exciting time for kids, it can also be stressful for them as well. Being mindful can help you in reducing holiday stress for both you and your child.
Kids love the wonder and magic of the holidays, but it’s important to make sure they have realistic expectations. If your child is asking for a gift that far exceeds your gift budget, or if they have plans to spend every day of their holiday break in pre-arranged playdates, prepare them for what will actually take place.
You can set the expectation without ruining the surprise. Maybe in your family everyone gets one “big” gift that has reasonable budgetary parameters? And while you can try to plan some fun activities with friends over the break, you can also let your child know that there will be days of downtime when they’ll be able to relax and entertain themselves.
Be Flexible, But Maintain Some Structure
The holidays are filled with unexpected guests and late bedtimes. Children still need sleep, decent nutrition and regular exercise to feel good. Try to keep bedtime routines in place whenever possible, get up and active and make sure your kids are getting in healthy meals along with all of those holiday treats.
Enjoy Your Time Together
Make an effort to participate in holiday traditions together or create new ones as a family. Choose activities where you can really interact with your children. Play games, bake, go to a museum or take a long walk. Use the extra downtime to spend time as a family or schedule one-on-one time with your children where you do something special with them individually.
If you spend the holidays stressed and complaining odds are that will trickle down to your kids. Try to manage your own stress and expectations for the season. Don’t put too much emphasis on creating a “perfect” holiday for your family. Instead, focus on ways to enjoy being together.
Since the season is about giving, find an activity, or activities, that are ways of giving back. Participate in a charity 5K, adopt a needy family, or go through items that can be donated. Giving back is a great way to teach your children the true meaning of the season.
The holidays can be stressful for many reasons, but how you choose to manage that stress will make all of the difference. Be kind to yourself and remember that what your kids want most is to be with you.