As a parent, you are constantly giving… your time, your attention, and your energy to your children. It’s perfectly normal to feel exhausted and drained from all the giving. During the holiday season, added stress may cause you to feel even more exhausted and overwhelmed, especially if you are traveling or hosting meals for loved ones. Having children home from school places more demands on parents, and unstimulated bored children may act out or display inappropriate attention-seeking behavior. Here are a few tips for maintaining a calm home during the holidays:
Remember to take time for yourself: Read a book, take a bath, go on a walk, try out an adult coloring book or create zentangles.
Set clear expectations: keep a list of family rules where children can see it. Children engage in more desirable behavior when they know exactly what is expected of them.
Provide opportunities for downtime while still maintaining structure: Try writing the daily schedule on a wipe off board and crossing off activities as they occur.
Reward positive behavior: Children thrive on positive reinforcement and display positive behaviors more frequently when it is acknowledged with a sticker, hug, or simple “good job.” Look for what your child is doing right and let them know that you notice.
Give them attention: 20 minutes of undivided attention in the mornings can shape their behavior for the entire day. Put down your phone and play a game with them, read a book, or color.
Stimulate their minds: ahead of time print off coloring sheets of their favorite characters, create personalized word finds, create simple scavenger hunts around the house, or encourage them to create a story with a handful of objects that you give them.
Know that most parents struggle when their children are out of school. If this time is difficult for you, you are not alone! Parenting is hard, especially when the routine is off. If parenting struggles continue to bog you down, look into our parenting groups where you will get support and strategies to help you feel calmer and more in control.