The holidays are filled with family, tradition, and expressions of love and gratitude, AND the preparations, expectations, and the sheer volume of the tasks that need to be done can create overwhelm, and STRESS for the whole family! Here are some ways to ensure that the holiday goes as smoothly as possible.
1. Manage yourself
Have realistic expectations for yourself and a clear plan on how it will get done. Budget time for the everyday work of the family along with holiday preparations. Remember that the process of decorating, cooking, or setting a beautiful table is all part of the experience, and the goal is not just to check tasks off the To Do list. Involve your children and spouse when possible to wrap gifts, prepare the house, or pack the car so that everyone is working together rather than you trying to do it all.
2. Discuss expectations for the family
Anticipate what your children’s experience might be and talk things through ahead of time.
- Will they be meeting new family members for the first time?
- What and when will you be eating?
- If you’re traveling, where will everyone be sleeping?
- What should they do if they’re not getting along with others?
- How to handle it if they get a gift the don’t like?
- What (age-appropriate) manners do you expect when greeting, giving gifts, or thanking others?
When kids know what’s expected of them, they feel more prepared and are more likely to follow through. You’ll be calmer and so will they.
3. Stay connected
Through all the holiday activities, keep checking in and observing how things are going. Over-stimulation is a source of meltdowns, so watch for the signs of when your kids (or you) need a some quiet time. Knowing you’re there to help them through will give them confidence and the courage to be independent.
4. Keep to regular routines as much as possible
Watch intake of rich foods and make sure meal and sleep routines are as close to normal as possible. Fueling the body with rest and nutrition will help keep emotions in check. Even on the days when there aren’t visits or celebrations, try to stay on schedule.
5. Give yourself grace
Let yourself cut some corners or drop off a few details when time gets tight. A gift in a gift bag is just as special as one that’s wrapped in paper and tape, and takes 1/2 the time to put together. Remember that you’re doing the best you can to make things special to express your love, not to try to be perfect.
If you’re challenged with managing the family, and yourself, through the holidays and during the year, and want help to sort out how to improve relationships and cooperation in your home, book a 30-minute Parent Success Breakthrough call with me HERE to see if coaching would be a good fit for you.