How would you describe the holiday season for your family; joyous, rushed, exciting, festive, frazzled? It can certainly be all of the above, and parents of young children are particularly aware and impacted by the pace of the holiday season.
Here are a few suggestions to make it more festive than frazzled:
- Whenever possible, plan ahead, inform your child in advance and/or involve your child in decision making regarding holiday plans.
- Rehearse and role-play behavioral expectations to increase likelihood that your child will be successful in new social situations and events. Predictability can be reassuring for children.
- Maintain typical daily routines as much as possible, especially bedtime. You will all benefit from being well rested. Physical activity, especially outdoors, is a simple and effective way to reduce stress.
- Involve children in your family’s holiday preparations whenever possible. Even young children can invest their time and effort in wrapping gifts, decorating blank paper for wrapping or for cards.
- Keep an eye out for your own child’s individual signs of stress. Expect the unexpected-don’t be surprised if your child exhibits behaviors that he/she may not typically.
- Take care of yourself and try to be as relaxed as you can be. You set the tone!
- Don’t overschedule. Leave lots of spare time between activities for unexpected delays, or just to have time to breathe and enjoy some down time. Be prepared to offer breaks in activities. Be realistic about what you and your child really can enjoy, not just what you are expected to do. That might mean saying no to some invitations.
- Take time to smell the roses-dance to the holiday music that is playing, go out and enjoy that first snowfall, decorate that gingerbread house even if it makes a mess of the kitchen.
All of us at Next Generation Children’s Centers wish you all a safe, joyous holiday season!
Nicole Ethier, Operations Manager