How To Keep the Holiday Season Stress Free

The holiday season can get stressful as parents think of unique ways to make it memorable for their children. Been there, done that and I know it isn’t fun. At the end of the season, it feels like not only did the season pass by in a flash but also like you couldn’t soak in any time with your family and kids. From starting new holiday traditions, which are fun nevertheless but hard to keep up with, to buying expensive toys that children can ruin in just a day to attending every festive event in town, the season can be equally stressful for children as they are for parents. With bedtimes long forgotten, plenty of new faces around and all the humdrum of the season, anxiety and fatigue can set in rather quickly leaving children quite unsettled. Running around like a headless chicken is my least favourite part of the festive season, so I’m putting down a few pointers on how to manage the holiday season better. 

1. Stick to routines:

The first thing to go astray in the holiday season can be our children’s routines but somehow it is the most important thing to do if you want to keep the calm. This can seem tricky, especially if you’re travelling or have events to attend, that might be unavoidable. That being said, children love and thrive on routines. It helps them feel a sense of control of their day and what to expect from it. So in whatever possible way you can, stick to their timings and schedule, especially their meals and bedtimes. There’ll probably have some late nights with the festivities, but ensure they get some downtime as well. With bedtimes, try to stay within an hour of their usual schedule whenever possible.  

2. Keep it simple:

It can be tempting to soak in the season with a larger than life attitude. But throwing in too many things can make kids feel overwhelmed and also exhausted. Keep it simple. Prioritise the events you want to attend, pick a couple of holiday traditions that work for the whole family and are undemanding of your time and effort. If you are stressed with your list of things to do, your child will pick up on your stress. And children have the knack of manifesting their stress in ways that can only aggravate yours further. So keep calm, create little pockets of free time to do nothing and just recuperate. With gifts, you can help children manage their expectations. It seems natural that they might want to send Santa a big list of things they want but without breaking the bubble for them, you can let them know what to expect. This way they have lesser disappointment to deal with on the day. Most of all, be kind to yourself and be realistic with your own expectations and standards of creating the “perfect holiday” for your children

3. Gift children your time:

With the holiday season getting busier every year, it can be easy to miss out on spending time with your child. Make it a priority to use the holidays to give them your undivided attention and plenty of time. It will be the best gift for both you and your child. Years later, they won’t remember the toys and presents they received as much as they will remember how special they felt being with you and being enjoyed by their parents. Picking a holiday tradition or two that involve the whole family is a fantastic way to spend time together. 


4. Make it a season of giving:

While adults can always donate money for a cause, children can actively participate in a toy or book donation drive, making them feel more involved. You can even involve your children in serving random acts of kindness during the holiday season. From visiting an old neighbour to baking a cake for a lonely relative or spending time at an old age home, it’s never too early to get your children to understand the real meaning of the season. Parents can also feel some amount of stress managing all the new gifts and toys that the kids receive in the season. The best way I have found to handle this situation is to sit with my kids just before the holiday season and help them give away toys and books they have outgrown or don’t need or have doubles of. It is also a good idea to give away gently used clothing. Not only does it help make space for the new gifts they will inevitably receive but my children also understand how their little contributions can brighten up another child’s festive season. 

With a little planning and prioritising, the holiday season can be what it is meant to be, a season for families to spend time and experience joy and love.  I hope you have a wonderful season, that’s free of stress and anxiety and full of making memories, quiet bonding and much laughter. 


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