Christmas holidays can be challenging. Some of you may find juggling work and having the children off school stressful, along with family commitments and financial pressures of the holiday period.
Below we have some strategies to help parents (and children) cope with the holidays.
The most important thing is looking after you. Self-care is important, you cannot pour from an empty cup so maintaining your sanity by taking time for yourself is key.
Take time out for yourself where possible – This may involve getting a carer, babysitter, loving grandparent or extended family member to look after the children for a few hours.
It may be sending the kids outside (or to play in their rooms) while you enjoy a cup of tea and a bit of peace. Keeping your usual routines around self-care such as yoga, exercise, healthy habits and relaxation can help keep some of the stress at bay. Plan when you will get the Christmas shopping done, leaving it to the last minute or dragging all the kids with you can be stressful too – plan carefully or just buy online!.
Some ideas for helping children through the holiday period are:
Children like predictability and consistency, so where possible try to keep their routines the same. Visual schedules can be a useful tool for routines.
Plan for transitions
If you are going away, plan for the transition – let your children know what to expect and when. You could create a countdown calendar and involve children in planning what they need to take along.
Behaviour and Rules
You’ll likely have less problems if you make the rules and consequences clear and apply these consistently. If any rules change over this holiday period (e.g. more screen time, or later bed times), make sure you explain this temporary change to your children so it’s easier to get back into normal routines when heading back to school in the new year. One more thing that is important is ensuring children know that not every responsibility stops for the summer – they still need to get out of bed, shower, and brush their teeth!
Create a list of go-to activities and stick it to the fridge and refer to this when needed.
Here are some ideas to get you started:
By Tegan Andrews, MAppPsy Behaviour Analysis, Researcher