The holiday season can be a magical time for children, but it can also bring a sense of Christmas overwhelm with all the excitement, activities, and expectations. As parents, it's essential to ensure that our children have a joyful and stress-free Christmas experience. Here are five ways to help your child avoid Christmas overwhelm:
1. Create a Calm Routine:
Establish a calm and predictable holiday routine. Children thrive on structure, and during the holiday season, it's no different. Maintain regular meal and bedtime schedules where you can to provide a sense of stability amidst the holiday chaos. If you are travelling around and staying with family this can be tricky, especially when there are often lots of late nights involved. Whilst you may not be able to stick to strict times, try to keep things like the bedtime routine the same as it is when you are at home.
2. Manage Expectations:
Talk to your child about what to expect during the holiday season. Let them know that while Christmas is a time for fun and surprises, not every day will be filled with extravagant gifts and activities. Teaching them about the joy of giving and cherishing time with loved ones can help manage their holiday expectations. We often travel about visiting various family members between Christmas and New Year, but we try to give ourselves a day at home in between these visits so we can relax and enjoy the gifts we have received and the time we have together.
3. Limit the Gift Giving:
Encourage your child to make a thoughtful wishlist and prioritize the gifts that truly matter to them. Avoid overwhelming them with too many presents. Emphasize the joy of giving to others, such as through charitable acts or homemade gifts. While family members may love showering your children with gifts, try thinking out of the box so you don’t get flooded with new toys and things that may not be used. We often ask for gifts like a yearly membership to a local attraction or contributions towards recreational sports, then they can just have a small gift to open on the day.
4. Involve Them in Planning:
Let your child be part of the planning process. Whether it's decorating the Christmas tree, choosing holiday recipes, or creating handmade decorations, involving them in preparations can be a fun and educational experience. My children love helping me wrap Christmas presents and adding some of their decorations to them to personalise them.
5. Embrace Relaxation:
Dedicate some time for relaxation and downtime during the holidays. Read holiday stories together, engage in creative activities like colouring, puzzling, or crafting, or simply enjoy a peaceful moment by the fireplace. There are so many lovely films on TV around Christmas too, so you can make yourselves big hot chocolates and snuggle up for a film afternoon. These moments of tranquility can help your child recharge.
Christmas should be a time of joy and wonder for your child. By implementing these strategies, you can help them avoid the stress and Christmas overwhelm that can sometimes accompany the holiday season. Remember, it's about creating cherished memories and celebrating the spirit of togetherness.