Dreading the holidays? Expecting fights and chaos? Here’s ten tips to help you through.
10. Respect your kids’ tiredness – the struggle is real. These little people have been busting their bods to get through the year – concerts, party days, awards parades…. It’s exhausting for them! While it’s exciting and important for them to be a part of the festivities, be mindful that they will probably be wiped out for the next week or so. Therefore, if you’ve jam packed their first week of holidays, be prepared for tears.
9. Respect your tiredness. It’s not rocket science, but when we are tired we are not at our best. Try the KISS strategy (Keep It Simple Stupid) and give yourself a break when you finally get one – even if it’s only for a few days over Christmas – don’t run yourself into the ground because no one will thank you for it.
8. Encourage holiday creativity. Your child has decided he wants to be an artist? Let him paint all day. An acrobat doing flips on the trampoline? Go for it. Even if they are hopeless at their current passion, don’t squash their hopes and dreams. Acknowledge their passion… “you sure love painting!” or “ you’ve been practicing on that trampoline all day… now that’s what I call persistence!”
7. Value their school work. If your house looks like mine, you’ve just had a dump truck come and load your house with books, stationary, art work, collages and whatever other creations your child has put blood sweat and tears into this year. Even if you can’t stand the clutter, take time to look through the special things (then choose the best and dump the rest in the new year – but you never got that advice from me).
6. Spend time with your darlings. You may only have one or two days off this season, but who better to spend that time with? Don’t get caught up with the hustle and bustle of Christmas and go back to work exhausted. Spend some quality time with your family, think of family traditions and rituals for the holiday – and if you don’t have one, why not start one?
5. Have patience with new experiences. For us, this holiday is about learning to tie shoe laces. But it could be practicing using a new lunch box, or even learning how to play a new game. I am the first to admit I am impatient with such things, but acknowledging their struggle in new tasks and giving useful information can help boost children’s self-esteem when they finally master it!
4. Don’t over talk the New Year. Particularly if your little one is starting a new school or a new experience. We don’t want them to have a scary picture of what their life is going to be like. This includes your opinion of their school, childcare centre, teachers or carers… if you are not happy with something DON’T let your child overhear your thoughts! While we are always going to be our child’s number one advocate, don’t underestimate their resilience… deal with issues as they arise and don’t anticipate them.
3. Open up the world for them. You don’t need money to go to the park, do a science experiment or bake some cakes. Holidays are a time to break routine, think outside the square and create memories for and with your children (refer to number 5). Use the resources available to you – Uncle Ben drives a forklift? Let’s go for a visit! The neighbour’s dog is having puppies? Let’s go and see them.
2. Practice new skills. As suggested in number 6, now is the time to try out something new. If your expectation as a parent is that your children help out more around the house next year, give it a go now. This year my children became masters of unpacking the dishwasher, next year it’s learning to pack their own lunch (mwa-ha-ha… insert even laugh here!!).
1. Be present…. And I could use a tacky pun ‘The best present is your presence’… but it’s true. Put down the iphone, switch off the tv, close your book and really invest some time in your kids. It’s not just an old people thing to say, time really does fly. And our job right now as parents is to ensure our children look back on these years with happy, loving memories. That’s all… nothing too important, right?