Keep your routine as much as possible. Everything about Christmas disrupts our routine. But routines are what makes kids feel safe and secure. You don't have to go to every holiday party. Avoid dragging the kids on all day shopping sprees in noisy and crowded malls. They'll get tired and cranky. If they do, you know they are feeling the stress too!
It's the season of sweets. Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas are when we indulge. Fast food family meals become more common because of all the extra tasks. Control their sugar intake. Serve healthy meals even if it takes more time.
- Time Out
Take some time to rest. Turn off the TV with all the commercials specifically intended to get your kid hyped about what he's getting for Christmas. Go for a family walk or bike ride. Take a nap. Build a snowman. Rest.
Focus on the true meaning of the holidays. Carry on religious rituals and family traditions or create some new ones. Emphasize the Christmas is about giving along with getting. Choose to help a less fortunate family and involve your kids in that process.
Set a limit on spending and stick to it. No child needs everything they want. Many families create unnecessary financial stress lasting for months because of the inability to say NO now. Purchases on credit will keep costing you long after the child becomes bored with that toy.
Kids from single parent and step families need special attention. It is critical that the adults communicate about schedules, gifts, and holiday activities. It may not be easy to do, especially if hard feelings exist, but conflict between adults creates stress for the kids. Allow kids to express their feelings about disappointments related to the non-custodial parent. Realize that being separated from either parent is hard for children.
My expectations? I'm dreaming of a white Christmas. Just like the ones I used to know. When I was a kid.