It’s that time of year. The lights, the parties, the festivities, the shopping, the trees, the STRESS of the holidays. Most of us have more to get done than we think we can possibly handle, especially if you add kids into the mix. But are there ways to at least reduce some of the stress this wonderful season brings?
The Oklahoma City-County Health Department offers some valuable tips on simple things you can do to make this season a little easier:
1. Save decorating until a week before the holiday. Save irreplaceable decorations for later years when children are older. My son is two, so I won’t be buying any Swarovski Crystal or Tiffany ornaments this year.
2. Shop ahead, throughout the year, while children are at school or home. Good advice, unless you’re like me and just HAVE to close the mall down on Christmas Eve, just for the fun of it.
3. Limit the number of times children stay with babysitters while you attend events. Not a problem in my house – my babysitter is terminally unavailable.
4. Avoid forcing a frightened child to sit on Santa’s lap. Young children often enjoy stories and pictures but the real thing can be overwhelming. I tried to force my son to sit for a Santa picture last year. All I got was a photo of a distraught toddler with red puffy eyes.
5. Avoid forcing children to welcome unknown relatives with a kiss or by handing them over to be held by a stranger. Allow the child time to warm up. Also good advice, unless you’re my mother ‘Gwennie’ and in that case, there will be no warm up time. Because she said so.
6. If weather permits, encourage outdoor play to release extra energy. OK, we live in Oklahoma. This is not hard. It won’t be cold until at least Febraury.
7. Keep routines as normal as possible. Be sure to expect behavioral changes anytime routines change. I find that this is pretty much a given with a toddler, at any time, in any season, for any reason.
8. When traveling with a young child, allow extra time on the road. Take some familiar objects from home. Establish a routine as close as possible to your regular routine and be assertive with relatives about how you enforce limits with your child. Unless, of course you’re ‘Gwennie’ and under her roof. Then it’s her rules … or else.
9. Limit holiday candy; give healthy treats along with the seasonal goodies. So pumpkin pie counts as a vegetable, right?
Any more tips you’d like to share? Leave your comments here or email me at the address below.