Before the holidays arrive, you have visions of stringing lights around the house, putting up ornaments with the kids and making sure that you are on top of everyone’s gift lists this year. Then, Thanksgiving hits, and everything seems like a whirlwind after that.
Only half of each strand of lights actually glows, your toddler won’t stop trying to put ornaments in her mouth and your 10-year-old insists that the only thing he wants for Christmas is the $500 LEGO set that’s based on his favorite TV show.
Plus, the kids are asking when the Elf on the Shelf is going to arrive, and adding one more thing to your extensive to-do list brings up a whole new level of anxiety. Not to mention the fact that you still haven’t bought any presents (including that LEGO set, which you’re hoping that Santa, by some miracle, will deliver).
How are you supposed to survive the chaos of the season and still hold onto your holiday spirit? Here are some tips for surviving the holidays with kids.
Every parent wants to give their family the best, especially during the holidays. You want to see your kids’ eyes light up, and you can’t get enough of those little smiling faces. But you also need to set realistic expectations for yourself and your family.
Your kids are going to be delighted by that devious elf whether he’s eating delicately hand-frosted Cheerios with sprinkles or simply tucked in the Christmas tree. Stop trying to compete with Pinterest for the best ideas.
The same goes for the presents. Your children will be mesmerized by the magic, and hopefully they’ll forget about that $500 LEGO.
One of the best ways to be realistic about your holiday expectations is to ask yourself what you really want. If being with your family is the greatest gift of all, then make time for quality get-togethers and don’t get wrapped up in trying to please everyone else.
Stick With the Routine
Routines make kids feel safe. Even though you might be traveling or toting the kids to parties during the month of December, try to maintain the status quo as much as possible.
Putting your child to bed at different times every evening or skipping naps can lead to tantrums and meltdowns. Skipping meals can lead to hangry kiddos that tug on every last nerve and refuse to eat any of the food that you offer.
Keep the peace with the following tips for surviving the holidays with kids:
- Load up on snacks that you know your kids will eat when you travel
- Bring an extra phone or sound machine to play music or white noise in your child’s room when you’re visiting loved ones or having guests over
- If your child won’t nap, try driving around town in the middle of the day to lull your little one to sleep; you can grab a coffee from the drive-thru once your kiddo’s head is nodding
- Have favorite toys and books readily accessible to comfort your child when you’re visiting relatives
Don’t Wait Until the Last Minute
If you stay up all night wrapping gifts, you may feel more like Scrooge than Santa on Christmas morning. Start shopping early, and don’t wait until the last minute to wrap gifts.
Of course, it’s tough to make time for shopping when your kids are always around. Drop them off at Giggles drop-in childcare so that they can have the time of their life while you find the perfect gifts for them.
We offer hourly packages that provide a discounted block of drop-in daycare so that you can take care of all of your holiday errands without stress. The packages never expire, so you can use them well past the holiday season if you need to.
Keep the Kids Busy
When the kids are on holiday break, you’re bound to hear them drone, “I’m bored!” You wonder how they could possibly be bored with so much going on, but they’re oblivious to the chaos.
Take some cues from them, and allow yourself to slow down and enjoy the season. Spend some quality time with your children. Search your local Facebook events for kid-friendly activities that are going on in your town. Plan some time to make crafts or decorate cookies. Invite friends over for playdates.
A few hours of quality time go a long way. When your children feel seen, heard and treasured, they’ll give you the space to get your needs met. They’ll probably be glad to sit with a book while you cook dinner after visiting Santa with you at the mall or watching their favorite holiday movie while snuggling with you on the couch.
Don’t beat yourself up if you can’t spend as much time with your little ones as you hope. (You need to have realistic expectations, remember?)
That’s why Giggles is here for you. We’ll do the crafts and watch the movies with your little ones when you can’t.
Holiday Stress Tips for Parents
Even though you want to make the season perfect for your kids, don’t neglect yourself. It’s ok if you put the kids in front of the TV in the mornings during their school break so that you can sleep in a little. Don’t feel guilty for wanting some alone time while guests are staying at your house.
If you’re stressed, you can always take a walk to get out of the house. Bring the kiddos with you if they need some fresh air and energy release, but consider asking Grandma to watch them so that you can put on your headphones and enjoy the alone time.
Try establishing a calming ritual to do after the kids go to bed. You might take a candlelight bubble bath or sit down with a book and some warm apple cider. If you push yourself to the limit, you might miss out on the magic of the holidays. Remember that the season is about how you feel, not everything that you can get done.