Parenting is a daunting task for those of us that take the plunge. Then, go and add on “the craziest time of year” with travel, family gatherings, and uncle Dave’s endless stories about things you “totally care about” while your kids run around naked with their cousins. Fun right?
Well, it’s not all that bad. The holiday season is a time for traditions, lots of food, and making memories. Seeing your kids open up the toy “they always wanted” and the joy on their faces makes it all worth it. But, in case you want to thrive while parenting during the holidays, here are a couple of reminders to get the most out of the season:
1. Plan Ahead with Flexibility in Mind
Planning during the holidays is hectic. You’ve got school plays, community service projects, family get-togethers, and more all within 30 days. Planning out your activities on a Google Calendar or with an app like FamilyApp that lets you communicate and schedule with family easily will help you a ton. With a calendar on your phone, you can set up notifications to make sure you don’t miss a single event this year.
BUT! Keep in mind that you also need to save some time in your schedule to be flexible. The holidays are crazy and there’s always something fun to do. So, leave a few nights empty so that you can flex your spontaneity muscles and do something fun! Or, set a new family tradition that each night during the week one family member gets to pick a random holiday-themed activity: watch a movie, make gingerbread houses with graham crackers, drive around to see Christmas lights, go caroling, make sugar cookies, or make ice cream out of freshly fallen snow!
2. Eat REAL Food
This is EXTREMELY important during the holidays. There is literally candy and junk food landing on your front door from neighbors, coming home in backpacks from school, and at the annual work Christmas party. It’s OK to indulge yourself… but instead of 10 cookies, limit yourself to 1 or 2. And, instead of eating treats first, make sure you drink a glass of water and have a real meal (with fruits and vegetables). That way you won’t have enough room for all of the sugar.
Plus, eating a lot of unhealthy foods may give you headaches, reduce your energy levels, and make you more irritable… Thus becoming the Grinch (pre-3x heart growth). Eating a lot of junk food will make parenting and having fun during the holidays more difficult.
Oh, and this goes for your kids too... Keep an eye out for little hands around the candy/cookie jars. Kids filled with junk food will drive you through the wall as well!
3. Don’t forget to exercise
It’s plain and simple. The research backs it up. Get moving. The more you move, the more energy you will have. The more energy you have, the better you will feel and the more effective parent you can be.
4. Get Sleep
Sleep is CRUCIAL to your success during the holiday season. Without getting 7-9 hours of sleep, your body will begin to become weaker and weaker… You will be more prone to sickness, be more stressed, lose the ability to concentrate, and possibly be more emotional. 4 things you most definitely don’t want to happen during Christmastime around friends and family.
In order to get more sleep, set yourself up for success. Put your kids to bed at a reasonable time (between 7-8 pm), avoid looking at “blue light” screens an hour before sleeping, and get your booty into bed by 10 pm. If you need some more tips on how to fix your sleep schedule, check out this article.
5. Set Boundaries
Setting boundaries is something that we should all be doing for our own mental health no matter the time of year. Have you ever been bothered by another family member intruding on you? Have you been bothered by someone forcing your child to do something they don’t want to do? Well, it is probably time to set some boundaries.
I know what some of you are thinking, what if you’re not the “confrontational type” and don’t like to “rock the boat”? You’re not alone. Setting boundaries with someone else can be awkward at first… but, if done respectfully, you will be on your way to improving your relationships with others and have a positive effect on your mental wellbeing.
Here are some tips from my friend Avital on how to set boundaries for your child tactfully:
Here are some tips about setting boundaries for yourself with others:
6. Be Patient with Your Kids (discipline with love in mind)
But, how do we “be more patient”? The best answer for this is to simply take a deep breath and pause before you react. Your kids are going to be running around with brothers, sisters, and cousins. Chances are that they are going to cause some mischief and get in trouble. By taking a deep breath and pausing before reacting, you give yourself a moment to think about the best way to respond to the situation.
Keep in mind, you want your discipline to have positive effects on your children and create the results you want to see. For some additional insights on how to effectively talk to children, watch the video below:
7. Take Plenty of Photos and Have Fun!
This is the last and most important piece of the puzzle to parenting success during the holiday season. Remember that this is a time to have joy and create memories. With the luxury of us all having a great camera in our pockets 24/7 9 (i.e. smartphone), be sure to snag a few photos and videos of what the holidays are like in your family. Then, with a Google account, you can have your photos and videos automatically stored and filed away in Google Photos for you to review for years to come.
I know I’m super appreciative of the home videos and photos my parents made when I was a kid and I bet your kids will appreciate it too.
So, there you have it, folks! Feel free to bookmark this page so you can refer back to it as needed if you start to have a rough time during the holidays. It never hurts to have a quick reminder of what you can do to be a happy and effective parent this holiday season.
What are you are excited about or dreading this time of year? Let’s have a conversation in the comments below!