Kids and the Holidays

16 November 2022

Halloween is over and hopefully the kids that were hyped up on candy treats have settled back to a routine.  But don’t get too comfortable.  Right around the corner is Thanksgiving.  Then comes Christmas and Hanukkah.  Add to that end of term at school with tests and projects, pagents and recitals.  Possibly travel is in the works.  There are parties to attend and people to visit.  All of this is enough to make the adults crazy, not to mention trying to keep your children on an even keel.

As much as possible, keep to your standard routine, especially regarding bedtime.  Try to backtime departures to give your kids some down time at home to unwind and relax before it is time to crawl under the covers.  It could also include a bit of special attention from mom and/or dad to talk about the day, the event, the people, or concerns.

Set everyone up for success.  No one functions well if they are hungry.  Adults and children alike have difficulty with the noise and chaos of parties and celebrations.  Over stimulation can wreak havoc on anyone.  Keep some protein bars handy for a quick snack.  It is less expensive and better than another drive thru.  At home opt for air-popped popcorn, fruit slices, cheeses and keep the cookies as treats.

Let’s face it.  Gifts are going to be a huge focus as the year comes to a close.  Try to incorporate giving as best you can.  There are ways like making gifts for friends or loved ones, shopping with a parent to find the perfect gift for someone else, or allocating money to buy gifts for a toy drive.  Many churches and organizations sponsor clothing drives.  Allow your child to help decide which items to donate to someone else in need.

Be realistic in your expectations.  With most families there will be squabbles, unwanted stories and teasing, someone trying to be the perfect host or hostess, and just plain mess.  Give your kids a little leeway but don’t let them go overboard.

Just because they are traditions, if the activities are not working any more, give yourself permission to move on to something that is more relevant for your time and place.  If your kids get exhausted or overwhelmed, take a break.

See what you can negotiate with in-laws, extended family, and friends.  Compromise means no one is completely happy.  You might need to be the Grinch that makes everyone somewhat grumpy.  Find some common ground and talk with your kids about time constraints and an attempt to give everyone a chance to celebrate.

As an adult and parent, find someone neutral that you can vent to.  Do not choose a social media to lay out your issues.  Check to see if there are any online support groups that will let you spout off and then move on with daily activities.  This will give you the chance to pull yourself together and avoid taking it out on your children or spouse/partner.

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