As an overview I want to touch on these three things as they pertain to “Thriving in the Holidays:”
1. Keep your daily and weekly schedule.
2. Stay healthy
3. Personal Survival
These bullet points came for a course I took about parenting through the Holiday season and I just wanted to share some of the things they taught us with some of my thoughts interspersed.
When it comes to scheduling it is important for you and your children to keep some sense of your daily routine. I am a Mom who is all about flexibility, but also setting your kids up for success. I want happy, polite, well-behaved kids when we are at home, in public, or in a more comfortable family setting – but that might not be “home.” On the flip side of the coin I also don’t want kids that can’t be flexible and gracious themselves. I’m not even close to being “done” figuring this out as I am just starting this parenting journey. I am learning that what you model to your children is what you will get out of them. And what you see in them is a direct reflection of what you are modeling. (I’m already having to ask myself what does that behavior in our little man say about me/us.)
If I have discovered one thing in parenting that I recognize as “key” it is BALANCE. If you want to have flexibility you have to be flexible. If you want happy kids you have to be happy AND they need their naps, balanced meals, & some sense of a schedule/familiarity – even during the holidays.
This means that if there is a special class, therapy session, predictable meeting you take your kids to etc. you should keep that in place, if at all possible. If they need two hours for a nap, plan your events around it. But, I do challenge you to find a way to make even that work into your schedule if necessary. Nap in a different location, set a car ride during that time, or work to have your kids have some flexibility in the start times of naps. (In my experience waking a child early from a nap is never a good idea – but that could just be my kiddo. I have flexibility with a start time but not a rise time.)
Staying healthy is so difficult in a season that is filled with contagious illnesses and unpredictable sleep patterns. Parties, travel, special events – so much can interrupt naps or bed time. And oh the germs! So many fun treats and extra special meals can mess with our dietary needs too. Do your best to keep meals similar to the norm – balanced is key. But everyone should get to enjoy some of the “fun” of Holiday goodness, like the awesome food and sweets, just remember that they have a serious effect on behavior, sleep, and overall health. And a little goes a LONG way with kids. Build anticipation and limit – again balance. 🙂
Eat balanced meals, that may mean packing something for your little one “just in case.” And while still enjoying the treats remember that over indulging in this will affect your kiddo just like it does you when you over do it.
I have a little man who is quite healthy and for that I am grateful. But, I think it is important to remember that “cold” itself does not cause illness. Getting outside, whenever you can, is actually really important. Washing hands and toys that are near the face or hands can also do wonders. When in doubt I say toss it in the laundry or dishwasher.
Personal Survival is key. For your kids to do well you have to do well. Don’t miss that exercise class that just keeps you sane, or your time with other adults. Carve out the date nights, continue to be active physically, slow down if you need to, say no if you need to, release yourself to do what you want. Again if Mom or Dad are worn out you can expect that the kids will be too and that no one will “thrive” in this season if that is the case.
I am SO on a learning adventure. I’m balancing this all myself and will look forward to sharing at the end of the season some thoughts on what worked for us and what didn’t.