It can be wonderful; it can be exhausting. It can make those frantic mornings trying to get everyone out the door for kindy and school seem like a walk in the park.
Beforehand, we have visions of the kids peacefully making gingerbread houses together, decorating the house, sharing books and toys thoughtfully. But the reality often consists more of kids squabbling and pushing each other’s buttons.
There are so many pressures and expectations to manage, from our families, from other people, from ourselves.
Parenting is hard and parenting in the holidays can be even harder. So, in this blog, we’re going to talk about some things that can help make the family festive time a bit easier on everyone – including YOU.
Manage your expectations:
When you think about how things will go these holidays, what do you have in mind? Is it an Instagram family and their heavily curated life? A Hollywood movie? A friend or acquaintance with vastly different circumstances, funds, and support?
Your kids might not be capable of taking turns yet, or developmentally ready to find common ground, shared interests, or even neutral territory. Your kids might not enjoy something that you have decided is a treat for them.
We can’t expect kids to not have any disagreements just because they’re related. We don’t choose our siblings, and they don’t choose us. While it can be incredibly hard to balance pressures from forces outside your home with your own feelings about what will work for your family, stand your ground when it’s important. You will thank yourself later.
Make your own traditions:
Christmas is typically filled with traditions, whether they’re religious, cultural, specific to your community or a product of the time and place you’re in. These can be wonderful, but so can the traditions you create yourselves in your family unit.
They might be as simple as an in-joke or a silly activity or just something that you do or say the same way every time. Some families get new pj’s on Christmas Eve, some open a present at midnight, some hide a coin in the pudding, some put a whoopee cushion on Dad’s chair at lunch, some have prawns at the beach and run into the ocean afterwards wearing matching, amazingly ugly, Hawaiian print board shorts. The important thing is that you and your family have chosen the tradition, and you enjoy it.
Keep it simple, have fun and be present:
In our parenting world, things have become increasingly competitive. It feels like the message is that bigger celebrations are better, we should push back against that. When it comes to Christmas, it’s easy to get caught up in consumerism, but it’s certainly not worth going into debt over. Christmas comes at the end of an incredibly busy term and year and everyone’s exhausted. We urge you to keep it as simple as possible!
When we let go of everything we think Christmas, family time and holidays should be, we make space to have the sort of experiences that our kids will look back on with fondness when they are adults with their own families, thinking back to these long summer breaks at the end of each year. The simple, little things that you and your family do together, when everyone’s having fun, the parents are relaxed and the kids are engaged, are pure gold for building magical memories.
You’ve got this x