Every so often, I add a new “fave” to my list of Parenting Sites to follow…Celebrate Calm is a new addition! Does anyone recognize this stressed out mom with rapid fire demands?
Founder Kirk Martin, Dad Since 1993 (DS’93) posted some great holiday stress busters in a recent newsletter, and he is happy to share them here at The Lounge – I’ve grabbed my favorites from his list and share an edited version.
by Kirk Martin, Celebrate Calm
Holiday get-togethers have all the elements of the perfect storm: large crowds jammed together, noisy atmosphere with lots of commotion and little structure, too much sugar and not enough sleep, the excitement of gifts. Many parents can’t wait to get through the holidays because it’s more stressful than joyful. It doesn’t have to be this way. Be proactive and create an environment that plays to your child’s strengths.
(1) Set clear expectations. Let your kids know ahead of time who is going to be at their grandparent’s house, when the big events are, what time you are going to open presents. Eliminate surprises.
(2) Plan down time. Your kids NEED down time. Find a room-even if it’s a bedroom-where they can get away, play contentedly with toys, listen to music and be refreshed. Have a relative take your child out for some one-on-one time.
(3) Give your child specific jobs and responsibilities so they can have a focus, help out and feel important. Can they help cook a meal, greet guests, create decorations for the house?
(4) Be confident. Don’t be defensive at the comments relatives make about your child. Remind them that every Christmas gift on their list was created by someone just like your child, that the future belongs to creative, big-hearted, problem-solving leaders who take risks and show initiative. That’s your child. Be proud, be confident!
(5) Maintain perspective and expect imperfection. Don’t expect your child to act like a 40-year-old. There’s a lot of excitement and kids will be kids. Perfect kids are boring! Expect your teens to be bored–have them plan activities to do ahead of time. And don’t be moved by their moods. Plan for things to go wrong-they always do!
(6) Plan alone time for YOU. Yes, you need it. Don’t feel guilty. Your alone time is good for everyone around you! Take advantage of the free sitters in the house and enjoy a couple hours alone with your spouse. Talk, enjoy the quiet, grab a coffee and snack together. When you take care of yourself, you can be calm and in charge.
More than anything, we want parents and kids who are confident and feel good about themselves. No more anxiety, apologizing and wondering what everyone else thinks. This is the year we attack the holidays boldly and empower our kids.
Editor’s Note: Thanks, Kirk! Great ideas, and very timely for the upcoming holiday season. What can you moms and dads do to create calm in your house this season? Add a comment below!