Life seems to always be busy with the holiday season adding even more responsibilities, errands, and parties. Stop and breathe. We have curated 7 survival tips especially for parents with children around the holidays. When reading our list, take into consideration what is best for YOUR family and for your young children. Depending on their ages, you can tweak a tip to better fit your current situation. The holidays should be a time filled with joy, giving, & family time.
Keep traveling to a minimum
This is a big, important one to start thinking about in the months leading up to a holiday. Families are often times spread out over a state or multiple states with travel required to spend time together. Those with children should take precedence when considering if they can & how far they are willing to travel. Traveling with kids takes a lot of preparation especially if hauling gifts are involved. If you have little children, maybe offer to host Christmas at your home or be very clear that you love your family, but traveling 3+ hours with children adds stress to them and you, so you will skip the gathering until your kids are older.
No one likes to be stuck sitting in a car for hours at a time. If you do decide to travel a long distance, remember to pack snacks, pillow/blanket, games, crafts, water & be prepared to make multiple stops for bathroom breaks and to stretch your legs and get out some of the wiggles. There are several electronic options that are great for the whole family including a Nintendo Switch, which could be a Christmas gift they get before the trip. Investing in a portable DVD player, Ipad, tablet or electronic reader will help the time pass a little quicker.
Don’t stress over the presentation
Wrapping presents can sometimes be a task we put off until the last second because it takes up so much time and energy. We get it. To take the stress out of the wrapping, think about using more gift bags & leaving the presents from Santa unwrapped on Christmas morning. This tactic can be used for all holidays, including birthdays and graduation as well. Opting for a bag with colorful paper popping out or an unwrapped strider bike instead! Maybe you’ll decide this year that you’ll pay someone else to wrap your presents, and that’s totally ok! Whatever you can do to eliminate any unneeded pressure. Your kids won’t judge you on your wrapping job, we promise!
Stick to routines
Everyone thrives on a routine. You’ve worked so hard to build a routine with your kids during the school year, why would you risk losing all of that hard work to backslide over the holiday break. Try to go to bed at the same time and wake up at the same time each day. Continue to eat breakfast, brush teeth, make a plan for the day, nap when all possible, and same bedtime pattern so your child knows what to expect. If you are traveling for the holidays and know that keeping to your strict, daily routine won’t be possible, stick as close to it as possible and improvise storytime with a Christmas program or church service. Have grandma sing them a song to put them to sleep. Bear in mind, you also have every right to skip out on activities to stick to the routine. If your child absolutely needs a nap, pass on decorating Christmas cookies. Do what’s best for you and your child.
Parents! We all need this. To be on top of your game you need to take time to recover. There are many ways to care for yourself that don’t involve spending any extra money around the holidays. Take a bath. Have your partner watch the kids while you indulge in your favorite book & snack for an hour. Grab coffee with a good friend. Volunteer at the soup kitchen. While the kids are napping, skip the cleaning and get caught up with your favorite Netflix show. Get a babysitter and do some shopping ALONE.
If you live in a warm place during the winter, take advantage of the gorgeous weather and hit the bike trails. Take a hike. Even if you don’t live in a tropical paradise, you can stay active and do some snowshoeing, skiing, or ice skating. Make sure you are getting your endorphins!
Playdates to stay active
This can be a form of self-care for you and your kiddos. Playing and connecting with peers is so important. Especially over a long break when they are away from school and used to interacting with other children on a daily basis. If you’re traveling, play with cousins, ask your family members if they have friends with kids who would like to get together or go to an indoor play place!
Offer to host a playdate and invite over a friend for each child. Make snacks and set them up for success. Have a game & craft area that is specifically for them with all the materials provided. Help prompt them to clean up their mess before moving on to a different task.
Make sure you have downtime
Take time to rest. Have a couple days that are not scheduled with any extra activities. Everyone needs time to themselves. Start talking about this with your toddlers now. Explain that it’s important to spend time alone, doing things you enjoy, resting in a comfortable space & decompressing. Help them navigate the things that relax them. Give them ideas. Yoga. Bath time. Listening to their favorite music. Coloring. Reading. Playing an instrument. Building something. The list is endless. Provide multiple options.
Be an example of this. Let them see you taking downtime and making it a priority in your home. Talk about it in conversation, “we have a few hours of downtime this afternoon before gymnastics, how are you going to use your time?”
Keep sugar to a minimum
We are surrounded with tasty treats all year round, but 100x’s more during the holidays! Try and stick to natural sugar which is easier for your body to digest than added sugar! Stick to water when you’re attending parties and gatherings. All of the extra sugar & additives you find in soda, juice & homemade mocktails are not good for teeth or bellies. Only stock your kitchen & cupboards with what you want your child(ren) to consume! Talk about listening to your gut. It’s okay to only have 1 cookie, but not 10. Your tummy will feel icky and you may end up becoming sick.
We want you to have a memorable, stress-less holiday season. Here at Kaleidoscope Kids, we provide Flex Time and Flex Care packages that offer extended hours, customized care and call ahead services to cater to your busy schedules, commuter hours and last-minute needs. Call us for more details!
Whether you are just looking around or are interested in enrolling your child immediately, we are excited to learn more about you and your family! We look forward to helping you make the best choice for your big decision. We will follow up with more information and a phone call to answer any questions you may have. In the meantime, if you would like to book a tour, do not hesitate to call us at 203-403-7271.