Surviving the Holidays with Kids
It is that time of year when everyone starts to get into the holiday spirit. We have a house full of Christmas decorations, our elf has returned and the excitement level is high. This is the first year that we are traveling over the holiday with our family. We will be in at least 5 different homes celebrating with many family and friends. I am looking forward to it because I know I am going to set my self up for success. I have been thinking about this in a lot of detail for the last few months and I want to share with you my tips and tricks. Even if you are not traveling these are tips you can apply to any time of excitement!
1. Plan your time so that you can say No. I have already set up our calendar with who we are visiting when and at what times. I am in control for the most part and I can plan the visits so that we don't miss anyone and we don't end up with an impromptu visit that ends up doubled or tripled up visits that day. This may seem cold (especially around the holidays) but I want to make sure that we (the kids and us) are feeling our best at these visits. Not tired or hungry or over it. In addition, you can say No easily because you are already booked. We also schedule downtime for all of us!
2. Stick to your regular routine as much as you can. This ties into the first one. While you are planning the time to celebrate and visit make sure you keep your kid's regular routine in mind. We try to keep our bedtime routine the same, as well as making sure the kids get outside time every day (just like the would at home). You will thank yourself when your kids are happier because they can predict what is coming next and they can relax knowing that things are similar to home. Children are creatures of habit so use that to your advantage, this is another great way to help you say No to things you know are going to not mesh with the routine.
3. Be aware of your kids eating schedule. I always overpack healthy snacks and water bottles when we are visiting and celebrating. I love my extended family but my kids are the only grandkids and only great-grandkids so often the food is not geared toward their kids' palet! Maybe you have a cousin you love to visit but they feed their children different food from your family. Come prepared and everyone will be happy! Pay attention to the restaurants you may be going to and the times of the day you are going, if you are prepared with snacks this can often distract your kids or stop them from being "hangry". It is also important to pack Mom and Dad a snack and water too. Everyone will be happier :)
4. Be mindful of the fact that they will eat sugar. Unless you are part of a no sugar family, your family and friends will love sharing their treats with your kids. I try to remember that it is a special time of the year and we don't eat like this normally. When you are aware of the fact that your children are consuming sugar you can be aware of what to expect from them. You can also share that fact with your family and friends. Thank you Mom for sharing those 3 cookies with my daughter...but there is no way we can now expect her to sit quietly in church!! When you relax your expectations around your kids' behaviour then you can help them to manage it rather than fighting it!
5. Be present and enjoy the time. The holidays are a magical time to be seen through the eyes of a child. Enjoy the time celebrating and visiting. We don't see our family often because we live far away so I try to spend the time being present and engaging with everyone. It is a great time to do a social media break or to put limits on your internet use. We love taking this time to really turn off work. I challenge you to take part too.
The holidays can be stressful for everyone but if you can use some of these tips and tricks you will help create a happy and healthy holiday season. Remember that it is your holiday and you and your family need to do what works best for you. Those who really matter will understand and those who don't understand shouldn't be given more importance than you and your family.
Share with me your favourite or if you have another great one! Don't forget to follow along @mountainmamawellness on Instagram!