Want LESS stress during the holidays?

Let's face it ... the holidays can get a bit crazy and the extreme excitement that exudes from children is sometimes hard to handle. I put together my top 3 tips to help you get through the chaos.

#1 SET THE STAGE

We often forget to explain to our children what the expectations are because we ourselves are so wrapped up in the preparation for the holidays that we just expect them to behave themselves because we have so much going on we can't possibly do anything else. Then we become frustrated when they are not acting even remotely close to the expectation we had in our heads. I understand how frustrating this is. Now that we are all aware that this is happening, take a moment to think about what your top 1-3 things are for your child during the upcoming days. Then sit with your child(ren) and let them know the expectation for the day or event. Now your top priorities for your children have been addressed and they know what is expected of them. This helps everyone to be on the same page and gives you something to reference if things go off kilter a bit.

  • Tell them how you want them to behave vs what you don't want.

  • Make sure to keep the expectations realistic & conversations brief and to the point. This time of year especially we need to pare down our expectations a bit to adjust to the stress and excitement of the holidays.

  • Keep these conversations with kids short and to the point. *If your kids can write have them write down their goals on que cards*If you want to go the extra mile you can ask the kids if there’s something they’d like for mom or dad to know about or do for them.

#2 PICK YOUR BATTLES

Think about what was in your top 1-3 things you wanted from your child(ren). For example, if wearing the dress clothes or sitting at the dinner table throughout the entire meal don't make the top 3 list then let it go. You can absolutely suggest what you want them to wear but if it turns into a power struggle then by all means ... let them wear the comfy pants. This goes back to setting the stage. If it wasn't something you spoke about in advance then let it go. Of course there are exceptions to this, if they are causing harm to others or themselves you must address it. Anything else, let it go. Now I'm not saying you can't address a situation but just take a moment to ask yourself "was this something we spoke about '' first before addressing it and if it was not then go easy on them. Keep in mind the extreme excitement from the holidays can be hard to contain for little ones especially.

#3 TRY TO MAKE THE BEST OF IT

When things don't go as planned. Pause a moment and adapt to the new situation and make the best of it. For example: If your child is acting out and you need to pull them aside to a quiet room, let them know you love them but also that their behavior was not what you expected based off of your earlier conversation. Tell them you'd like to take some time to listen to how they are feeling or just to spend some needed quality time for a few minutes. Getting into their world for a moment can shift the trajectory of the day or night for that matter. Reiterate the expectation and let them know that next time you know they'll make a better choice.

You've got this and I'm here to help if you need guidance!

-Marisa O'Brien

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