4 Parenting Tips for Surviving and Thriving Christmas Day

Posted by on Dec 19, 2014 | Comments Off on 4 Parenting Tips for Surviving and Thriving Christmas Day

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Christmas Day is one of the most fun-filled times for families with young kids who practice the Christmas tradition. That said, it can be one of the most stressful and exhausting days of the year if your kids are too young to appreciate what the day is all about, if their behavior doesn’t match your expectations of the day, or they are easily overwhelmed by all the excitement, food, and family. These 4 parenting tips for surviving and thriving on Christmas day are meant to help you and your family avoid some of the energy drains that can pop up. Instead, we hope you will be able to build an enjoyable tradition together.

  1. Share Plans and Expectations Early
    Making your plans and expectations for the day known to the family before Christmas morning will save everyone stress and offer a chance to adjust if needed. If you’ve traditionally visited three families on Christmas day, for example, let your kids know ahead of time, even if they’re small. Doing so will allow them to mentally prepare—even if it’s subconsciously—for a long day filled with different faces and lots of energies. If you have expectations about the process of opening presents, sharing meals, or anything else, tell your kids in advance about those, too. Discussing these things as a family when there’s time and space for everyone to give input allows for flexibility and for your kids to have a say in what Christmas traditions you build on and which ones just aren’t working. If everyone’s exhausted and grouchy by the third round of gifts (using our example from earlier), after opening at home and Uncle Fred’s, you may want to ask Grandma if she can come to your house for her round of presents, or if she’d rather spend Christmas Eve with your family to shorten your number of social outings on Christmas day. By making these decisions as a family, you’ll ensure that everyone has enough energy for all that the holiday has to offer!
  1. Know Your Children’s Limits
    This tip piggy-backs on the last. If you already know that your toddler will need a nap at one o-clock, don’t plan to be anywhere but home at one. There will be plenty of years down the road when she’s more flexible, but for now it’s best to respect her needs in order to keep the day enjoyable. Similarly, if your older kids get bored at ten a.m. after all the presents have been torn through, plan an afternoon activity to keep them engaged and involved, like going to a movie or playing with a new game as a family. The same goes for candy and meals: as tempting as it is to let kids eat mountains of sweets or indulge in foods they’re normally sensitive to because “it’s Christmas!” and you want them to have fun, help them stick to their normal diet as much as possible so that they can feel good all day. A healthy body helps create a happy mood!
  1. Stay Calm and Positive
    If you keep your cool and keep a smile on your face, it’ll be easier for your kids to do the same. Modeling happiness, gratitude, and generosity on Christmas will help your kids practice the same sentiments. Plus, by setting the intention of staying calm and positive you’re much likelier to do just that instead of getting frazzled by all the activity! Remember, parents need to take care of themselves during the holidays, too.
  1. Take Breaks
    Even though Christmas is a time of sharing and togetherness, it’s OK to take a break from socializing when you need, and the same should go for your kids. If your kids are introverted or overwhelmed by a lot of new experiences—especially if you have a baby, toddler, special needs child, or a kid who didn’t sleep enough waiting to catch Santa—make sure they know that it’s OK to find a quiet corner to retreat to and read a book if the day becomes too much.

Above all else, take in the moment, appreciate one another, and have fun! Merry Christmas!

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