Mindful Parenting Tips to Stay Sane this Holiday Season
Everyday errands take three times longer among the holiday shopping crowds… You remembered and then promptly forgot who you were assigned for Secret Santa at work… Your cat has torn down holiday decorations for a fifth time… and now you come into the kitchen to find your four-year-old covered in a mess of sugar, flour, and icing because they wanted Christmas cookies now.
The holiday season is a bright, magical time to spend time with family and shower each other with love, but it comes with a lot of stress too. Every holiday does – whether you’re tasked with hosting a barbecue for Independence Day or baking cupcakes to share at school on Valentine’s Day.
Seasonal tasks and to-do lists might be covered in festive tinsel, but they still take a toll. Try these mindful parenting tips to stay sane and keep your kids under control this holiday season:
- Share your (kid-friendly) to-do list.
Delegating is tricky, especially when you have to brief your partner with a long list of instructions or pare down the complexity for a toddler. Instead of focusing on the time you might lose, consider the closeness you can gain.
There’s no better time to make shared memories. Plus, kids will be more well-behaved and engaged if they can take ownership in the work alongside you – even if it’s just a simple task. Invite them to pick out the design of your holiday cards, help you measure the flour, write gift tags, or clean before company arrives.
- Add black-out dates to your holiday calendar.
Chances are, your calendar is already filling up with social events, work parties, seasonal activities, and can’t-miss obligations.
Airlines black out travel dates during the holiday season, so why can’t you? Grab a pen to set aside a holiday movie night at home. Call the babysitter to schedule a date night with your partner. You won’t regret skipping a friend-of-a-friend’s party, especially if it gives your family time to recharge and relax.
- Make micro and macro priority lists.
What must get done today? What can wait? Journaling is a helpful way to set your intention for the day and make sense of your buzzing thoughts.
Focus on the present moment by building a micro to-do list that prioritizes your emotions and wellbeing. Your macro list might be cluttered with looming due dates and dollar signs, but that’s not what the season is about. Instead, let those worries float away and create space for the intimate moments that matter right now.
- Create a cozy, calm holiday atmosphere.
You don’t have to do it all. Your kids don’t need you to cook a massive holiday meal, hang an award-winning Christmas light display, wrap presents like a pro, andmake the world’s best peppermint hot chocolate. Maybe pick just one?
Remember, ‘perfect’ is unattainable, and overwhelming your home with seasonal energy might amp up your kids too much. Instead, play low-volume Christmas music, hang a winter wreath, or light a festive candle. Cozy and calm go hand-in-hand.
- Stick to familiar routines.
Everyone’s sleep schedule is completely out of whack, but that doesn’t mean that you have to abandon your entire plan. Kids thrive with consistency and clear expectations, so it’s important to provide familiar structure. Or, at least, warn them about how to behave and react to something new.
A visual calendar keeps kids in the loop and unites scatterbrained parents. Plus, ‘this then that’ prompts can help children plan ahead with a predictable sequence. First bath, then cocoa. First reading, then ice skating.
It’s important to remember that this time is a gift for you too! Even Santa needs self-care. You’ve got this!