We are on the Eve of Christmas and as the time counts down you can almost feel the impending meltdown! The holidays are a special time for families. Each year is a benchmark in the lives of children, and with each passing holiday season comes new joys and new challenges. With all of the time constraints, traveling, and budgeting that comes with this time of year, stress is an inevitability. However, how stress is dealt with is something that can be effectively managed. It is not a given that meltdowns will occur every year, particularly if parents strive their best to keep stressful situation to a minimum.
Meltdowns are most often caused by children who are overly tired or whose routines have been upset. The best way to avoid meltdowns is to keep routines in check as much as possible. Nap times and bed times should continue to be observed and meals should occur at roughly the same time as normal. This can be difficult when parents are attempting to complete last minute shopping with kids in tow. Online shopping can alleviate much of this stress, as children are not moved about from one store to the next growing evermore tired and grumpy.
Traveling also creates a great deal of stress in children and, unfortunately, during the holidays travel seems almost unavoidable. Some families take turns hosting holiday festivities, while others prefer to have a holiday tradition of meeting in the same location each year. Whichever option is selected, most children will either have to be separated from their home or will have to share their personal space with others. To keep meltdowns to a minimum, have a travel plan in place. Schedule adequate time to reach your destination, allowing for plenty of stops and breaks along the way. Pack plenty of snacks and comfort items. For airline travel, consider purchasing small gifts that children can unwrap as they are en route.
We always try to get out of the house when everybody gets stressed. We either try to go for a walk or a bike ride and it really helps! This year we also started a holiday puzzle as a family. I am amazed how everyone has really embraced it! Also, for today we have a simple cookie recipe planned that we can all do together that creates relatively no mess! Another tip is to not make your family pose for too many photos – that aggravates everyone so just don’t ask too much of the family! And last but not least let everyone have some down time. We sometimes put on a movie and make it dark and cold and it is amazing how many of us fall asleep and have a little power nap which makes everyone’s mood happier!
Stress felt by the parents can easily affect children. When mom or dad is unhappy, the kids will very often follow suit. One of the most prevalent arguments in households any time of the year is the family budget. During the holiday season, budget becomes a main concern. There are countless strains on finances, from gifts to travel expenses to extravagant meals. The best way to alleviate this stress is to plan well in advance for holiday expenditures. Budget for the holidays and keep credit card usage to a minimum. A family that neglects to plan in advance can still make choices that keep financial stress down. Families must remember that finances do not have to be stretched to their limit to have a happy holiday season. Holidays are about spending time together, not spending as much money as possible.