Last year, my sister-in-law lamented that her kids had seemed on edge the month of December. I pondered her observation and agreed:
My kids had seemed more stressed than usual.
Which led me to wonder …
Were the holidays actually having a negative affect on our kids?
Gone was the ideal of peace and love. In it’s place had come stress, chaos and attitude problems. The more I reflected, the more I realized it was all a big domino effect.
I was feeling the same way.
Many of us experience stress in the weeks leading up to Christmas. Maybe your budget is tight, or a long (never-ending?) weekend with the in-laws is fast approaching. Social pressure can be intense during this season, too. Your clothes, traditions, decorating, suddenly, all of it matters, and you still have to work, clean the house, and get dinner on the table.
It’s no surprise our kids act out for attention.
Preventing the holiday crazies
If you’d like a holiday season with fewer melt-downs and more actual joy, try embracing these five mindsets:
1. Be kind to yourself. If you are stressed trying to make time to decorate, bake cookies, volunteer, send out cards, infinity – stop. Take an honest look at your to-do list and see if there are obligations you can cut out or delegate. It’s so important to be honest with how you are feeling. If you hate sending Christmas cards, I think it’s fine to stop doing that. Remember, the way you are feeling during this season does affect the people around you, including your children.
2. Do what you can, when you can. I used to set aside days or weekends to complete certain holiday tasks like hanging the lights and picking out our tree. This year, I want those activities to work around our daily life, instead of the opposite. Most importantly, I want those events to be enjoyable, creating memories we’ll want to remember. Don’t force the season on your family. Let it happen naturally.
3. Plan ahead when it matters. Are there holiday concerts and events coming up? Take stock of your family’s clothing options now to avoid rushing out the night of the event. This is one area I like to plan in advance, since improvising isn’t always an option.
- More: Use these free family wardrobe planner sheets to get organized.
4. Make time for each other. During these busy times, family members tend to go in opposite directions to get things done. Instead, look for ways to complete holiday tasks as a team. If you have older kids, ask for their help in getting gift ideas, decorating and planning the holiday meals. Put on some holiday music, smile and work together.
5. Focus on connecting with your loved ones, not impressing them. The trendiest clothes don’t matter as much as spending time with those we care about. I love our holiday traditions – the cookies, food, music and lights – but in the end, it’s being together that makes the season shine.
How do you prevent the holiday crazies?