With 5 kids from almost teen (yikes!) down to 14 months i have experienced a few holiday meltdowns and have come up with a few tips i thought i would share them with you all.
This pic is of Lilly yesterday while her and i ran to target to get some Christmas shopping done (i barely started shopping this past weekend YIKES) i had a rare time without the 4 older kids.... She was somewhat calm and pleasant......... until we entered the candy isle then she turned to this!!!
yup my pretty 14 month old was screaming and throwing a fit while i looked for stocking stuffers for the big kids. It was crazy (and i am sure those around me thought it was more crazy i was busy snapping a picture of her HA).... anyhow on to the tips:
- try to do your shopping without the kids. I know this is not always feasible but get creative if you can. stores are staying open VERY late go after they are in bed or early in the morning, trade with a friend so you can each have some time alone to get things done. i don't know about you but i can focus much better when i don't have little hands reaching out for all the toys then throwing them on the ground for the millionth time just sayin........
- be mindful of nap times and sleep schedules (this is HUGE in avoiding the inevitable tantrum). i know there may be a day or two where this is unavoidable but try not to plan every holiday gathering at sweet bubbas nap time or you are sure to have a cranky child (and parent
) Ask family if they would mind having the Holiday celebrations before or after nap time, nothing ruins the annual tradition of opening presents and enjoying a meal together then a screaming toddler because all though we as moms can tune them out not everyone at the table can
- don't feel the need to do EVERY SINGLE tradition you ever did as a child, traditions are great when they work if they are just stressful why not hold off for a few years. i think we get in to this mindset that we have to do everything over the holidays and you don't do what works for your family at this already busy season of life.
- set some boundaries with family. grandparents love planning lots of events over the holidays and you may be expected to attend them all and possibly be there when it starts until it is over. well once you are married you have (generally speaking) 2 families (or more especially with divorce rates s high it can be 4 sets) and you may not be able to do every tree trimming, cookie baking, gift opening, big meal that all those families set. so tell your family ahead of time maybe something like " although we enjoy all the normal activities of the season we really can not commit to attend them all so this year we are going to scale the list back and pick a few things to do" my husband and i did this a few years ago and it has been the BEST decision we have made regarding the holiday's with our families. and you know what, not one person was upset (or at least they didn't voice it HA!) and when we were the ones to say it so many others were in agreement they were just afraid to rock the boat. *** want to add it is always best if your husband talks to his family and you talk to yours regarding this otherwise it may lead to hard feeling.
- don't overload on sugar and then not expect a melt down at some point. I am pretty laid back when it comes to meal times at the holidays (for special occasions/ get together) i don't make my child eat everything on there plate or eat Grandmas mystery veggie surprise or cousin Yolanda's candied tamales (i don't have a cousin Yolanda BTW) i let them eat what they want (my bigger kids) they are old enough to have a opinion on food they want to eat from the food line just like me and may not like certain things to me this is not a mountain i need to conquer on Christmas dinner. I let them have a small plate of dessert but let them chose how much and what they have hey its Christmas. with that being said my older kids can handle it but my younger ones i serve them myself.
- include the kids in helping, lets face it the holidays are busy enlist the whole family in cleaning, cooking and baking. My 3 year old loves to help in the kitchen i recently gave him a huge bowl of Hershey's kisses to unwrap and he was so excited and only ate a few
my bigger kids help with lots of chores and baking too heck then you can say oh it is not great the kids helped LOL.
- schedule in a date night, in the hustle and bustle of the season our spouses can get neglected. set a time for a grandma or older teen, baby sitter etc to come over and watch the kids for a while and get out of the house with your spouse and just catch up on whats going on ESPECIALLY if you have babies and toddlers they require so much attention that you need to get a way even if just for a hour and catch up on the days. Your husband still needs to know he is number 1 amongst the kids, shopping, parties etc believe me it is vital to your marriage. SOOO call and schedule that right now!
- lastly enjoy the season you are in. i know so often as moms we think oh when the babies are bigger my tree will be decorated beautiful the cookies will look perfect, all my presents will be wrapped perfectly with coordinating ribbons etc. but our babies wont be babies then anymore. Enjoy each season for what it is, i have the great privilege of having several season going on LOL but it is such a blessing it allows me to cherish those times with the little ones even more because i know they will soon be out of this stage and it also allows me to enjoy my older ones more because i realize it goes WAY TOO fast.
ultimately the holidays should be fun so if they are more stressful then fun its time to reevaluate