Parent Tips for Making the Holidays Bright

While the holidays are a very special time of year for most families they can also be a source of tension, disappointed expectations and stress. As parents we can take certain steps to make sure our children have a mostly positive experience.

1. Being really present for your children trumps even the most lavish of presents.

2. In-laws do not have to be out-laws; take the time to dig down deep and listen, invest and connect at the holiday dinner. Try to avoid controversial topics and too much alcohol. #small eyes are watching.

3:Try to not overbook and stay calm.  Maintaining routines is essential as the holidays can be stressful for children. Adhering to normal bed, meal and rest times is both assuring and calming.

4.. Tis the season to assess and rejuvenate tired family scripts and roles that make holiday gathering, tense, predictable and inauthentic.

5. Showing family members  love, gratitude and admiration has so much more oomph than declaring it. #Show don’t tell.

6.. Make sure to find a quiet time to connect with the children amidst the flurry of expectations and activity

7. Find ways to include your children in meaningful participation in holiday activities,traditions and preparation of meals..This is the stuff that childhood memories are made of.

8  Be clear about holiday behavioral expectations. .Our expectations for our children while  traveling and having meals at the homes of friends or relatives must be carefully delineated and explained.

9. Maintain a sense of humor and don’t forget to laugh. Try to keep perspective and worry more about the hands around the table than what is or isn’t on the table.

10. Think about toting along a care package of activities, toys and healthy snacks  for your child. Gatherings can be long, noisy and boring.

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