It’s that time of year again! How did the year go so fast? Christmas is only one week away and I have so much to do …… At this stage the majority of parents are thinking the same thing so here are some suggestions that might make things a little easier.
Plan!Plan!Plan! It’s never too late to make a list. Making that list and checking it twice is probably one of the best survival strategies for Parents at Christmas time. Actually you can make that multiple lists!. You will need a list for gift shopping, grocery shopping, cards to send and jobs to be done to name but a few. But here’s a new suggestion direct from Santa – rather than add to a list think about just crossing things off. Even removing just one thing from a list can be liberating. Be a Frozen follower and just let it go!
Get that wrapping done early. Wouldn’t it be lovely to be sitting on the couch in the glow of the fire and fairy lights on Christmas Eve instead of wrapping gifts on the floor until 2am! Get the wrapping checked off your list nice and early. Put the kids to work and involve them in wrapping gifts and writing labels. Little fingers are great for peeling off price tags! You may be put off by the idea of having children help and think it would be more work but it would be so worth it. Spending time together sharing a task is great. Working together and helping gives our children a sense of achievement and involvement that both you and they will be proud off.
Children can help with many of the Christmas tasks not just wrapping. Think of involving them in shopping, choosing gifts, cooking and baking and the dreaded house cleaning! Thinking about cleaning, this is one time to consider lowering you standards. Don’t worry about the state of the house when relatives or friends call over. Just remember that a messy house is a happy house and Christmas decorations hide a multitude!
We all love the traditional side of Christmas and many family traditions are generational. Sometimes we can add to the stress and challenge of Christmas trying to do things exactly as we always have. Some children can even become distressed if the pattern is not followed. So be original, shake things up and do the unexpected. One big surprise I had was walking into a room to see the Christmas tree hanging from the ceiling with the top pointing down! Maybe a little too extreme but you could consider having your tree in a different place.
Try and stick to your regular routines as much as possible and don’t let things slide too much. Later bed times, more screen time and more sugary foods can affect your child’s behaviour. If you do slacken your rules remember to also lower your expectations, expect tiredness and the grumpiness that can follow. Remember to hold fast to your boundaries and limits about unacceptable behaviours.
One of Santa’s really useful gift tips is the 4-gift challenge. This means children getting a gift they want, a gift they need, a gift to wear and a gift to read. Remember that Santa has a lot to think about and he often forgets to bring batteries for the new toys he brings. Help Santa out by stocking up on batteries of different sizes before the big day to avoid that disappointment.
In the middle of all the madness remember to take a little time for you every so often to recharge the batteries. Have a list for My Time and make sure to write this list down as we sometimes keep plans for ourselves in our heads and we can then be less likely to follow through. Simple things such as committing to sitting down while we drink a cup of tea can mean the world.
Spend time with your children. Have a list of activities that you can do together over the holiday period on hand (another list!). Once the buzz and excitement of Santa is over children can become bored very quickly. You might think how is this possible? Santa has just brought lots of new toys to keep little ones busy. However, once the novelty wears off children want the things they always want and at the top of this list is time with Mum and/or Dad and/or those important adults in their lives. So stock up on supplies before the holidays such as arts and crafts and baking supplies, stories and jig-saws. Best of all remember a blanket and snuggle up together on the couch and just Be Together! Happy Christmas!
This article was contributed by a member of Parenting Limerick. Parenting Limerick is a network of parenting and family support organisations.