The holidays can be a time for making memories, connecting with loved ones and having joyful and playful experiences as a family. It also can be a time of stress, overwhelm and emotional over-flow for parents and children. With the following parenting tips for the holidays you will be well prepared and equipped to ensure your holidays will be preserved as a happy and fun time for you and your child.
5 Parenting Tips for the Holidays
- Create a Holiday Planner. Having a plan on paper or on a wall calendar will help you and the whole family stay on track with the structure of a schedule. Healthy time management and advance planning will enable you to feel like you are in the driver’s seat for the holiday schedule rather than feeling pulled all over the place.
- Keep Your Child on a Regular Bedtime Routine. Ensuring your child has a consistent routine and is getting enough regular rest each night is going to go a long way in making sure your child is not exhausted and overwhelmed by all the holiday happenings. A warm bath, snuggles with books and regular bedtime rituals will be sure your child feels well connected and is well rested for the next day.
- Curiosity and Connection over Correction. Child therapists are helping parents everywhere understand that children only act out because there is a need they are trying to have met and underlying it all children need to feel securely connected with their parents. If you notice your child whining or showing rambunctious behavior, first get curious about what it is your child is most needing right now and instead of correcting the behavior in a way that will feel like a punishment, try seeking a connection with your child. Gently pull your child to a quiet place, get down on eye- level, reflect aloud what you’re noticing and express your curiosity about what your child needs.
- Don’t Overdo the Material Gifts. It’s very easy to sucked into the commercialism of the season. The true gifts of the holidays are the playful connections you make with your child not all the gadgets and goodies. You might decide your child will get three gifts and let her know in advance. Encourage relatives and family members to not overdo the gifts either. Instead, suggest loved ones give gifts of experiences. Take the child to the puppet theatre. Provide tickets to an outdoor adventure event.
- Create and Observe Memorable Family Rituals. Maybe it is lighting candles and saying Hanukkah prayers, decorating a Christmas tree together, visiting Santa at the local department store, baking pies together or singing holiday songs while looking at lights in the neighborhood. When we observe the same activities together in joy as a family, we create rituals that have meaning and are remembered by children as they grow up. This helps children to feel a sense of belonging within the family and reinforces the bonds within the family.
Parents have an opportunity during the holidays to create wonderful memories and help children have positive and playful experiences that help them to feel connected to the entire family. It can be very easy to fall down into the rabbit hole of chaos and stress during the holidays if parents and children are over-programmed and over-stimulated. Keep the holidays pleasant and healthy by observing the 5 parenting tips for the holidays so that you and your child will reap the benefits of a healthy and happy holiday season.