Notes on Parenting

Insights for parenting babies, toddlers, teens, and young adults.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

5 Ways to Keep the Holidays Stress Free

By Dyan Eybergen

For most children, Christmas time is filled with excitement and anticipation. They delight in the tradition of Santa Claus, decorations, the making of gingerbread houses and writing out their Christmas wish lists. For parents, this time of year can prove to be stressful with all the obligations to attend parties, the hustle and bustle of shopping malls and financial strain, cooking and cleaning and meeting the never ending demands of family and friends. 

Here are 5 ways you can slow down this holiday season so you can relax and enjoy the wonder of it through your children's eyes. 
  1. Learn to say no. Saying yes when you should say no can leave you feeling resentful and overwhelmed. Friends and colleagues will understand if you can’t participate in every project or activity. Set realistic expectations with yourself and your family. Your children will learn the importance of balance.
  2. Set a budget. Knowing how much you can spend on gifts and food ahead of time can help you stay on track; use cash whenever possible so you aren't dealing with paying off credit cards in the months that follow – which will only contribute to more stress.
  3. Simplify: Know when buying a pie instead of the stress of baking it yourself is a better idea. Decorate where your family spends most of its time and forget about decking the halls of every room. Use gift bags instead of wrapping every present. Partake in outdoor  activities – sunshine, fresh air and physical activity are natural mood enhancers, not to mention how much fun you and the kids can have.
  4. Remember the spirit of the holiday. Enjoy the little things, like taking the time to relive the joy through the excitement of your children. 
  5. Acknowledge your feelings and reach out for support. If someone close to you has recently died or you can’t be with loved ones, realize that it’s normal to feel sadness and grief. It’s OK to take time to cry or express your feelings and allow your children to do the same. 
Now relax, enjoy, and Merry Christmas. 



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