School will soon be out and we’re all getting ready for the holidays. This combination of excitement and preparation can get pretty stressful. And we know we’re not always at our best when stressed! To help reduce the overwhelm so common at this time of year, I’ve put together three of my top parenting tips to keep your inner Grinch at bay.
Focus on the key aspects of Gentle Parenting: Connection. Empathy. Empowerment.
- Remain connected as a family. This may mean baking just three types of cookies instead of six, in favour of spending more downtime together. Are there ways the kids can help?
- Talking is another way to keep that connection strong. Ask them how they’re feeling about the upcoming visits and events. Kids pick up on our stress and little ones especially, may not understand why we’re running around like headless chickens… or snapping at them instead of our being our usual cheery self.
- Buy an experience, rather than a toy, and do it with them.
- Be sure to empathize with whatever they’re thinking or feeling, whether or not you agree with it. If they’re whining for a certain toy, ask them what they like about it. Let them know you understand how cool it is.
- Empathizing doesn’t mean you agree, so you can still ‘stick to your guns’ if you’re not buying it. And if you won’t be getting it, now you have another great opportunity to demonstrate your compassion when they feel the disappointment!
- Empowerment is another key principal of Gentle Parenting. This is when you get to teach them important life skills like patience. As adults, we understand the need for giving and helping others less fortunate. Christmas is a great time to work on this lesson, too. Teach them about earning. “You want to stay up later for this special occasion? Then you need to rest this afternoon.”
Take time throughout the day to reflect on what’s most important to you.
Focusing on gratitude is a great way to be happier. Make it part of your daily routine.
While the angels sleep in their beds and you’re awake late into the night assembling this year’s special gift, take a moment to appreciate having those crazy kids in your life. Without them, you wouldn’t get to stay up past midnight hunting for AAA batteries! 😉
In the midst of Christmas morning wrap ripping, enjoy having enough money to provide excitement for those you love. Think about how warm and toasty your home is… How delicious your cup of java…
There are many things we can’t alter about the holidays, but changing our thoughts (and therefore our feelings) is one of the only things we CAN change. Why not choose happiness?
Simplify to prioritize.
Speaking of things we CAN change…the expectations we place on ourselves for the holidays is sometimes a bit insane. Take a moment to honestly reflect on your priorities and ask yourself a few questions,
“If I do everything on my list, will I be relaxed enough to enjoy the holidays?”
Or worse, “Will I become so taxed that not only do I not enjoy the season, but might my inner Grinch make everyone else miserable, as well?”
One final question that can be tough to explore (and may require outside perspective) is, “Why am I trying for the perfect holiday in the first place?”
Set aside time to reflect on your values in regards to the holidays. Is it creating special memories for the kids? Is it enjoying great food with friends? Be sure to simplify your to-do list so you enjoy the season, too.
You matter, Mama.
As you explore which holiday activities will make the cut this year, we’d like to share a great resource with you. Check out these tips for sensory-friendly Santa Claus events. Our friends at Sensory Friendly Solutions support families by sharing ideas, strategies and tips to help manage sensory overload all year ’round.
Wishing you and your loved ones a Happy Holiday Season and a new year full of love and laughter. <3