The winter holidays can often throw even the most organized parent into a tailspin. When the to-ing and fro-ing ramps up to sometimes-unmanageable proportions, schedules are often tossed by the wayside. That can leave many of us wide-eyed and hanging on for dear life. And thatís just the adults!
Between the Christmas pageants and Hanukkah dinners, fairs and bazaars, concerts and caroling, shopping or crafting, gift exchanges and overall merriment, one can easily feel as through he or she has been thrown into a never-ending spin cycle, kids included.
When stress rears its ugly head, we need to give pause and take our childrenís metaphorical temperature. How is their behaviour? Sleep and eating? Frustration levels? Are you finding it harder to get co-operation?
We all have the ability to roll with the punches, but for some it only takes a few before we get knocked down while others can go round after round. Knowing your childís tolerance level (not to mention your own) is key parenting information. And bear in mind what works for little Olivia may not work for her brother.
For optimal happiness at this time of year, I recommend setting the bar to accommodate the person who has the lowest tolerance for hectic schedules and too much on the go. Maybe thatís you or your spouse, but more likely itís your child. Kids can push through a lot but when itís too much, they will push back. Being able to anticipate your childís tolerance for busy-ness around the holidays will mean a smoother and more enjoyable experience for everyone.
The holidays are meant as a time of celebration, reflection and contemplation. This is a season to appreciate the beauty that surrounds us and a time to extend our gifts to one another ó and Iím not talking about those with a bow on top. Itís a time to ask: What can I do for another? How can I help or make a difference in the lives of family, friends and strangers?
So sit for a moment and check in with yourself and your family. Listen to what your gut is telling you as much as what everyone else is telling you ó which oftentimes is ďdo more, more, more.Ē Embrace your opportunities to stay cozy inside. Light a fire and make gingerbread men with your kids ó no matter what their age! Is decorating the tree starting to feel like a chore? Set aside time to create the festive atmosphere in your home together and do it to an awesome playlist.
And learn how to make homemade eggnog. Really, trust me on this one. Itís worth it.
Kirsten Andrews offers Simplicity Parenting courses, workshops and private consultations in the Corridor and Lower Mainland. Visit Sea To Sky Simplicity Parenting on Facebook or www.SeaToSkySimplicityParenting.com.