What a joy to share special foods, songs, and traditions with your children as you celebrate with family and friends. But the travel, crowds, expenses, and hectic schedules can be stressful.
Here are some tips to help your family experience less frazzle and more fun this holiday season:
Take good care of yourself. Are you feeling overwhelmed by the hustle and bustle? It’s okay to set boundaries to take care of your mental and physical health. Take time out to do something you enjoy or to just relax and take in the pleasant smells, sounds, and sights of the holidays. Remember to get enough sleep and eat nutritious food.
Children can sense adults’ stress and be affected by it, so keeping your own stress in check will help them too.
Let go of perfection. Advertisements and social media can flood you with messages about what you should do and buy to have the “perfect” holiday. Trying to live up to these unrealistic expectations can leave you feeling exhausted and disappointed; it can also break your budget. Instead of trying to do it all, make memories by doing things your family truly values and enjoys. If you celebrate with gifts, help children manage their expectations or focus instead on the fun of giving and receiving non-material or homemade gifts.
Keep predictable routines. The long-awaited holiday break from work, school, or child care is almost here! It can be tempting to stray from routines during this break. However, children thrive when their days are predictable and consistent. Try to stay within an hour of usual bedtimes and wake times, provide nutritious meals at regular times, and be intentional about engaging your children in activities that meet their need for connection. Go for a walk after breakfast each morning or play games after dinner each evening.
Reach out. Holidays can be a sad time if your family is separated from loved ones or struggling financially. It’s okay to reach out to community agencies or religious organizations for help with food, gifts, or a place to gather with others.
If your family is not struggling this season, consider donating time or money to a charity to help brighten someone else’s holiday.