It’s the most wonderful time of the year, but for many parents Christmas can be a time of stressing, overspending, pressure from kids/loved ones and yourself to create the perfect Christmas time. So why not try to make this Christmas about how you would like it to be, as a parent. What kind of memories would you like to create for your kids? What can you do, to do the things that you like to do with your family, friends and for yourself?Let’s start with bringing it back to the basics: Christmas is all about somebody else’s birthday and a time of forgiveness and compassion so let us make Christmas ALL ABOUT THE PRESENCE. The best present we can give our children is a happy time of peace, fun memories, where mum and dad are happy and mentally and physically present.
Think: ‘How do I want my kids to remember Christmas?’ and then live by this. Not a stressed parent, but a happy focused one.
Here are our tips about how you can create magical memories for your family to enjoy and remember for many years to come:
- Forget ‘perfection’ and go for relaxation, enjoyment and togetherness and ditch the unrealistic expectations. Decide what your priorities are and where it’s acceptable for you to cut corners to help yourself enjoy Christmas. Become a mindful and focused parent, enjoy being with your family and embrace all the small but important moments in your family, one day they will be the most important thing for you.
- Delegate jobs: you need to relax and have a holiday as well. So before the festivities begin sit down with your family and talk about: what needs to be done – who will do what and when. Together plan, shop and prepare meals over the holiday. Everyone needs to have chores: set the table, clean up, vacuum, dishwasher etc. A happy family is a family based on co-operation and teamwork.
- Set a budget: Christmas can be expensive, so agree how much each gift can cost. We also agreed with grandparents that each gift could cost no more than £40 and we paid no more than £60 – this way we felt we could afford it and our kids where prepared and used to this arrangement etc.
- Get outside: Baby it’s cold outside but let’s get dressed and go out and enjoy the crispy fresh air (hopefully with some snow).
- Get baking: yes it’s easier to buy cakes and cookies but there is nothing better on a dark cold day than turning on the oven and baking together.
- Create and play games: that you will all enjoy and get everyone together and away from the screen.
- Control screen time to allow more time in the present.
Parents often find that their kids would rather spend time with their electronical gadgets then with them. But remember that you can set the rules, so let’s plan and agree what you can accept or not this holiday in terms of screen time:
- Agree together how much you can accept that your children are on screens. Be consistent and stick to it.
- Plan family time together everyday.
- Try to have screen free days where you do things together as a family or one-to-one time.
- Be prepared to deal with new gadgets that might arrive for Christmas – yes it is new but still there are rules around its use.
In general I would recommend sticking to your everyday routine over the holiday (screen time, bedtime or chores) this will make it easier for you all to get back into the swing of things once January arrives!
At ParentingSuccess we offer a variety of workshops and support throughout the UK and we are looking forward to welcoming you to our Parenting Community in 2017.
Sign up at CLICK to read our January newsletter ‘Parenting Detox’, packed with more tips and advice.
All the best
The ParentingSuccess Team