Parenting is arguably the most intangible work a person will ever do. We are busy all day long with the kids, and it often feels like we “did nothing”. But we did! Every day, every moment, every week, every month, every year – it counts and it compounds.
Since we are “officially” on Christmas/Hanukkah/winter holidays break, we want to create life-long memories. It may be that extended family is coming over to your house, or maybe you are travelling, or that Santa did not bring everything on the list.
Here are 5 reminders to help you manage difficult parenting situations during the holidays:
- Meltdowns are to be expected. The more you expect them, even embrace them, the less triggered you will be. Children may not like the gifts they receive, or may seem like they are not appreciating the vacation spot you worked so hard to offer them. Remember not to take things personally, or literally. All that children need in these moments is a safe container held by a loving adult. We do this by lots of listening and holding limits (see my previous articles on both topics, Listening, and Holding Limits).
- Overstimulation leads to meltdowns. Children of all ages need ample down time in between important activities. Transition is important, and we need to be mindful of transition time, depending on the ages of the children. Be mindful not to over-schedule.
- Sleep is vital for all members of the family. Lack of sleep will lead to “crankiness”, over-reactivity, and more meltdowns for both children and adults.
- No gift, dinner, or destination is more important than Connection. That’s our North Star: connection over everything else.
- Get support for yourself as needed. Conscious parenting is 99% self-awareness work; it is about us, the parents. This means that: we will check-in with our bodies often; we will honor our needs and limits; we will get enough sleep; we will catch ourselves early when we are being triggered; we will ask for help as often as we need because we know that self-sacrifice -to the point of exhaustion -turns into resentment. Sources of help are: trusted family members, a coach, a therapist, a listening partner, or a support group.
Happy Holidays from my family to yours! Thank you for your wholehearted love that you pour every day onto your children and family.
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