The year is full of holidays, from Valentine’s Day and Easter to Halloween and Christmas. And if you’re a parent, that means you’re about to embark on a marathon of high-energy activity, spending, and seemingly endless family gatherings. Norman Rockwell may have painted pretty images of family holidays, but pictures don’t always capture the truth. In reality, most holidays can be extremely challenging for parents and kids. But fear not, because here are some great tips to help your kids avoid those major holiday meltdowns.
Limit the Sweets
Once the Easter, Valentine’s or Halloween candy enters the bloodstream of your young ones, the corn syrup river just keeps flowing until the New Year arrives. To cut down on the sweets, ask grandparents and relatives to consider giving small toys in lieu of sweet treats. Many studies show that an increase in sugar intake can drastically change a child’s behavior and lead to more meltdowns.
Share the Joy
Consider setting up a childcare sharing calendar with a group of parents. It could end up being your lifeline. Even if it’s only for two hours at a time, giving each other a break from their kids will allow each parent to get something accomplished or even sneak in a nap as they prepare for round two of holiday madness.
Hold a Gift Wrapping Party
Wrapping a pile of presents can be a total drag, or it can turn into the best part of the year. So, plan a gift wrapping party. Just gather up as many gifts as you can carry, pick up a few rolls of wrapping paper, and head to your happy host’s house. You’ll have a wide variety of paper to choose from and someone to talk to while you wrap. But best of all, no kids will interrupt your progress, so you can get the entire job done in one night.
Pay it Forward
Random gift-giving can be more fun than giving to those you love. And it doesn’t have to be expensive, either. Just pick up a few extra pampering products at the dollar store. Items like skin lotion, shower scrunchies, candles and lipstick are all good picks. Tuck a few items into colorful gift bags and keep them on hand.
As you travel through your day, share a gift with the teacher, hair or nail technician or your babysitter. After all, giving makes you feel good and your kids can witness how to extend kindness.
Let Things Slide
Let that image of the Rockwell painting go. Life isn’t perfect and neither are the holidays. Expectations are high and so are emotions. Nothing will turn out exactly as planned. Holidays are about sharing time with those you care for and love.
Remember, perfection isn’t necessary or even realistic. In fact, striving for impossible goals just because you saw something nice in a magazine can set you up for disappointment.
Believe it or not, those breathing exercises can help you relax. Take a deep breath in, hold it for a few seconds, and then slowly exhale. Taking just a few minutes to practice mindfulness will help you keep your cool.
Any holiday can be wild, but with a little planning and intentional living, you can get through it. Use these tips to make some wonderful memories, and when it’s all over, you and your family will have wonderful memories to share.