Several holidays are fast approaching and that means getting off the usual routine for your kiddos. Kids thrive on consistency and routines, so these unique days can easily lead to meltdowns, undesired behavior, and some big feelings. Holidays are such a wonderful time, though, so we want to be able to enjoy them and help our kids enjoy them, too! These three tips can help make the holidays a success in your house. Give yourselves extra grace. This means adjust your expectations, set your child up for success by communicating and make taking care of yourself a priority.
First, let’s talk a little about why kids melt at holidays more easily than usual. Holidays are generally different than your day-to-day, which means that no matter how exciting or fun it’ll be, it’s still going to require more energy from your child(ren). If they’re SUPER excited about something, that’s eventually exhausting. If they’re nervous about something, that’s also pretty taxing. When they’re tired (just like adults), it’s harder to manage their emotions. So, when they’re tired and then something’s happening differently, they’re more likely to cry or have what I call “big feelings.” You know, those feelings where nothing you say helps? Nothing you do helps? Yep. So here are my three tips to equip you to set yourselves up for success!
Give yourself lots of extra time. Allot extra time to get your kids dressed and get them out the door. This extra time removes the anxiousness that comes when we’re rushing. It allows you to lead calmly, which in turn lets your child remain calm, too. Whenever there’s a holiday or special event coming up, it usually means your to-do list is a lot longer. So how are you supposed to give extra time and tackle that to-do list? You scale it down to the absolute essentials and give yourself permission to do the rest after the event/holiday. Look at your list and ask yourself, “what can wait?” and add it to your list for the following week. This also takes the pressure off of you! You no longer expect to get it all done this week and you know you’ll be working a little longer next week.
Prepare your kids for what to expect & set them up for success
When kids know what to expect, they can better manage their emotions. It alleviates one unknown for them. Do you know that when you get to the party location you’ll all be asked ot take off your shoes? Give your kids a heads up that they’ll take their shoes off when they arrive. Is their favorite cousin going to be there? Their favorite dinner or dessert? Tell them ahead of time so it can be a relaxed conversation & isn’t a surprise. You don’t need to give every detail!
Additionally, when you know you have a long week you don’t plan an early Saturday morning, right? Do the same with your kids.You’re expecting them to do something totally different than usual. Even though it’s exciting and fun, it’s still different. They’re probably more tired than usual. Managing their excited emotions is exhausting, too! Do what you can to give yourselves a pressure free morning following.
Fill your own cup
I know how cliche that sounds. Everyone’s always saying it, and yet, parents everywhere are still putting it off. Here’s your permission to leave the laundry and take a bath instead. Whatever it is for you, make it a priority and keep it simple. Make it do-able (this will even turn it into a habit!). Maybe it’s skipping the grocery store and ordering take-out once a week so you can get more work done during the day (the grocery story time) and relax that evening instead of doing dishes. Whether it’s 5 minutes alone or an hour massage, make time for yourself. You, your kids, your spouse/partner — everyone benefits from this. It shows a good example for your kids and allows you to show up feeling a little more like yourself.