Written by our Children & Young People Health & Wellbeing Strategic Lead, Vicki Readings
We all know that Christmas is a “wonderful time of year” but for many of us parents, it means a disruption to routine, late bedtimes, tiredness, and a lot of stress…and that’s excluding our mega excited children and high energy levels!
There are several things that we can try and do to help ease some of this chaos this Christmas, that should (fingers crossed) invite more calm over the holidays.
- Failing to plan is planning to fail – we know that sometimes this is easier said than done but as much as possible, try and plan what you are doing and when. Whether that’s time with the grandparents, Christmas shopping or holiday camps, knowing where everyone is going to be and when can save a lot of last-minute stress!
But don’t put too much pressure on yourself. Making sure you have planned in some down time where there are less expectations on you and the kids to be here, there, and everywhere, you’ll be able to just enjoy some calmer, quieter family time. As with every Christmas, there may be things we need to do that we don’t particularly want to do… and that’s where top tip number 2 comes in – compromise.
2. The ‘C’ word: Compromise – there has to be a balance to the holidays so that we’re not left feeling burnt out (and counting down the days until term starts). Not everyone can do and have what they want, when they want, so it might be that you all agree at certain times over the holidays that you will all get some time to yourself. And other times, you will be doing things as a family. It’s about balance!
3. It’s a family tradition – Do you have any family traditions? If you don’t, why not create one! It doesn’t have to be extravagant or expensive; it can be things such as hot chocolate and movie under the duvet or blanket, making paper snowflakes to hang up around the house, things that you can do whilst spending quality time doing all together. It’s fun, it’s engaging, and it can meet the needs of top tips 1 and 2.
- When the going gets tough…get outside – we know that energy levels are increased around this time of year due to all the excitement and the change to what we usually do. It’s one of the busiest school holidays where, at the end, we all feel like we need a holiday to recover from the holiday!
Getting outside in the fresh air is not only good for our wellbeing but also allows the kids to run around, explore, have some space and most importantly burn off some of that energy! If you can, do this at least once a day.
- Communication is key – talk to the kids about what is happening, tell them how you are feeling and ask how they are feeling. It’s a very strange time of the year where there is over stimulation everywhere, from decorations, to music – this can be too much for us sometimes as our brain in continuously working in overdrive! It’s also worth mentioning that not everyone in every family feels positively about the holidays. They can be an incredibly tough time for people of all ages. It’s good to talk to one another, ask open questions such as ‘What do you think?’ ‘Why do you think that?’
6. Be the calm you wish to see – kids will respond much better if they are met with calm. I know that’s easy to say however, if we can model that calm, even if we feel like ducks in water, the kids are much more likely to follow our lead and be calmer too! Helping them to understand and regulate their feelings will help create a smooth path through the holiday period.
Be mindful that the holidays should be a time to be together, connect and find some time to rest. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself, or the children.