The hustle and bustle is here. Do you find yourself dreading the stress of December more than ever? If so, there is good news. Seriously, you don’t have to dread the holidays; you can actually come to love them.
There is something magical about this time of year. The season beckons family, friends, and extracurricular activities, all of which sound dreamy and inviting until you and your family can no longer function due to extra holiday stress. And when you are stressed out, chances are your children are stressed too.
What makes holidays exciting? For some families, it is that there are many different activities on the agenda. For others, simple traditions provide the specialness that will be remembered. However, what brings excitement can also bring added stress. To alleviate stress and bring PEACE to your holidays you will need to plan, evaluate, accommodate, control and enjoy your holidays.
Plan. Get out a large calendar and write every single activity you plan to do now through the New Year down. Getting all your holiday school parties, work commitments, family gatherings and traditions down in black and white will give you an opportunity to view your schedule objectively.
Evaluate. After everything is written on the calendar, spend some time thinking through the schedules to see what is doable for your family. Evaluate each activity carefully asking yourself: Can we afford this? Are there any scheduling conflicts? Does this activity add stress to our already-busy schedule? Does this activity add value to our holidays? Your stress easily carries over to your children. Evaluate whether your children can cope if their schedules change. If they tend to stress out, keep to your regular routines and incorporate only a few extra holiday celebrations.
Accommodate. Once you have taken an in-depth look at your family’s calendar for the season, it is time for some give and take. Maybe instead of your child attending three different Christmas parties with his friends, he’ll need to pick the one he wants to attend the most. This will give the family more time together, as well as help out with finances. Instead of the extended family having four get-togethers, maybe it is time to scale back to one. Do you need to put a financial limit on the gifts? Finances are a major cause of stress during this season. Children are very accommodating, especially when they know the limits.
Control. Once you decide what will benefit your family and bring peace, it’s time to take control. Don’t relax your normal boundaries, because that can just create tension. Set holiday bed times, making sure the children still get enough sleep to avoid crankiness. Monitor their diet. Living off holiday sweets and gingerbread houses create sugar highs and lows which can cause children sibling squabbles. Maintaining structure within the home will help children cope with crazy holiday schedules more effectively.
Enjoy. With a little preplanning, enjoying the holidays will not seem like just a dream. It is possible. The holidays are precious times perfect for building upon family relationships. Don’t let the Grinch steal perfect holiday moments and memories from your family. Plan for it, and expect to enjoy each moment.
PEACE is attainable. Grab a cup of coffee, sneak away with your calendar and think peaceful holidays. You will be amazed at the peace that will come when you plan, evaluate, accommodate, control and actually enjoy your holidays.
Oh yes, I’m dreaming of peaceful holidays. I hope you are too!