Parenting Through The Festive Season - Tips to Keep the Stress Away and the Kids Happy
You’ve probably heard that parenting is one of the most difficult jobs you can do - sometimes, it can feel more real to see how much control you can assert over your children before they start rebelling.
Worry ye not, as it turns out, there are actually quite a few things you can do to make life easier for yourself and everyone else around you.
Here are some tips on how to get through the festive season with your sanity intact:
Invest in some quality food
You'll be amazed by the difference this can make - when we're tired and hungry, everything just seems worse than when we're well-rested and full.
Make sure you've got plenty of sleep, snacks, and drink within easy reach, so that when things get stressful, you can happily feel the benefit of a quick boost to yourself and your family.
One of the best ways to manage stress is to have everything in order, so you don't have to waste time looking for things when you need them.
The festive season is a great time to get your kids into the habit of helping out and being organised, too - it might take a bit more effort on your part, but it'll be worth it in the long run.
Make a list of all the jobs you need to get done
The problem with lists at Christmas time is that there are just too many things on them!
So prioritise your list and work out which tasks can be done together (ie. cooking the turkey while making cakes), which ones can be spread across different days (ie. sending cards to friends), and which ones will just have to be done on the day itself (ie. setting the table.
Get everyone involved with the preparations
This is a great way to get them feeling involved and excited about Christmas, and it also means that you're not trying to do everything by yourself.
Children love helping out in the kitchen, so try to make sure there are plenty of jobs for them to do - depending on their age, it could be anything from peeling potatoes to stirring the gravy. Let them get stuck in!
Set some limits
It's easy to get carried away with Christmas preparations, buying presents and food and drink, and trying to make everything perfect. But at what cost?
Try setting some limits on how much you're going to do this year - you don't have to miss out on any of the fun, but you can relax a bit more and not feel so pressured.
Take some time out for yourself
This one is especially important - even if you're doing your best to take care of your family, you need to make sure you take some time out for yourself as well.
If you don't, you'll just end up feeling resentful and overwhelmed, and that's no good for anyone.
The most important thing of all is to remember to have some fun!
Even if it's just a few minutes each day, try and find some time where you can relax and recharge your batteries.
This might mean getting someone else to look after the children for a little while, or it might mean spending some time on your own - but try to make sure you carve out a little time to take a breather and enjoy yourself.
The festive season is a great opportunity to spend time with your loved ones, eat delicious food, and generally just enjoy yourselves. So take a deep breath,, and have some fun!
Try not to freak out about how much work there is to do
You don't have to do it all at once, and you probably won't be able to.
Work out what matters most to you and start there, remembering that the important thing is making sure everyone feels loved and appreciated during this busy time - so don't spend too much energy stressing over things.
Keep the Christmas decorations simple
As well as buying new decorations, don't be afraid to use what you already have at home, too.
You'll probably find that most of your ornaments will work just fine - and if they're really old then now is the perfect chance to clear off all those broken ones that are cluttering up your house!
Avoid using Technology too much
I know this one sounds impossible with children around, but try not to let them use technology so often during this busy period.
A lot of parents think they have no choice because there's so much to do, but it's not good for them in the long run and it's definitely not good for your relationship with them.
Make time for fun activities too
It's really important that you don't let Christmas become all about work. Make sure you find time to do some fun things together as a family, even if it's just watching a Christmas movie or going out sledging.
Don't be afraid to say no
This is especially important if you're feeling overwhelmed. You don't have to agree to every invitation that comes your way, and you don't have to put yourself under more pressure by trying to do everything at once.
Try to avoid conflict
Christmas is a time where people can be especially sensitive, so try to avoid any conflict if you can. If someone says something that annoys you, or your children are being particularly difficult, take a deep breath and walk away if you need to. It's not worth getting stressed over things that can't be changed.
Set some boundaries
You can't expect your children to remember that they're supposed to be on their best behaviour all the time, and it would perhaps be a little unfair to expect them to.
Set some boundaries (ie. no texting at the dinner table) and be sure to let everyone know what's expected of them.
Enjoy the moment
Christmas only comes once a year, so try and enjoy it as much as possible. This doesn't mean that you have to be happy all the time - in fact, it's perfectly normal to feel a bit stressed at times - but just try and take a step back and appreciate all the good things that are happening.
Let go of any guilt
If things don't go according to plan, or someone upsets you during the festive season, just remind yourself that what has happened is for the best.
You can't change the past, but you can think about how things could have gone instead - and that might help you feel better in the future too!
Remember what Christmas is really about
It's easy to get caught up in the commercial side of Christmas, but try not to forget the true meaning behind it all. If you want your children to enjoy this time of year, then talk to them about how it all began.
They might have already learnt about St. Nick at school, but they'll definitely be surprised if you tell them that St. Nick was actually real!
Make Some New Year Resolutions
Yes, yes, we know that technically, they're only for January, but making some resolutions at Christmas can help give you a fresh start for the new year ahead (especially if you make some changes now).
You could even get the children involved; depending on their age, they might have a thing or two that they would like to work on themselves. Between you, you could make a nice little New Year's tradition to set some goals/boundaries to set you up for the new year...
We've given you some of the tools to make this Christmas a happy and memorable one.
Just remember: You can't do everything, but try your best for what is most important (ie. spending time with family) and remember that it's not about getting stressed out or feeling guilty if things don't go as planned.
Do you have any tips you would like to share? If so, feel free to leave a comment below!