When it comes to the holidays and family, we can all agree that there is nothing as magical as children’s excitement as they await the big event. We want those moments to be perfect for our little ones, but we’re only human. We work, look after the house, care for our children, clean, help with homework, play, and hopefully spend some time on ourselves. Then we add the holidays to our already-impossible schedule, and stress can color what should be magical memories with anxiety and the pressure for perfection. Here’s a look at some tips and strategies for a stress-free holiday season with your kids.
Get the Family Involved
When we have children and so many responsibilities, it can be difficult to live a balanced life. The holidays can compound things, and even if you have two adults to help out and try to balance all of the chores, getting the kids involved can be invaluable. Not only do you teach them how to be part of a team and how to complete chores for themselves, but you can lessen the burden on yourself during this chaotic time of year.
Stay Simple at Home
Traveling across the country to see family can be a wonderful adventure, but some years, it just isn’t feasible. Don’t hesitate to be honest with your parents, in-laws, or other extended family, and to just tell them that you will be spending this holiday at home. If you decide to host family, don’t try to be an interior designer (even if you are). By keeping your decorations simple, or even allowing your children to decorate, you can drop some of the stress from the season.
Hire Some Help
At the end of the day, after working, taking care of the kids, and prepping everyone for family get-togethers, friends’ parties, and school events, cleaning is the last thing you need to add to your already over-full plate. Think of the extra time you could save not having to worry about doing the laundry, scrubbing out the bathroom tub, or sweeping and then mopping the kitchen floor. The average cost of cleaning the interior of a home by maids in Philadelphia is only $118-240. It takes about five hours—five whole hours you could have to shop for the holidays, go to parties or events, or even just catch up on some bonding time with family. Hiring a maid is really something to consider, even if it’s just for a little extra help this holiday season.
If you do decide to take the leap and visit family this holiday season, try to give yourself and your kids some flexibility. Make sure you leave your schedule open enough to make deadlines without added pressure. Buy presents in advance, pack and leave early for the airport, and don’t overschedule events, so you can be sure you have some time to actually relax and enjoy the season. Also, consider being a bit more lenient with children during this time by leaving some of the rules for home at home. After all, bed at eight makes less sense when there is no school the next day, and extended family are there to play and chat with. This can ease your children’s stress and your own.
Prep, Prep, More Prep
This goes hand in hand with flexibility. If you’re hosting a party, make as many things in advance as possible. If you know the kids have celebrations at school, but also that there is a holiday party coming up a few days later, consider making batches of brownie batter, cookie dough, or other seasonal candies and treats, and freezing some to grab from the freezer at a later date. This way, you get the prep done and over with and can focus on having fun.
Remember, this is meant to be a happy time, and getting help (or hiring help) can aid in keeping the holidays merry and bright. Relaxing your rules, getting the kids involved, and knowing when to bring in outside assistance can make all the difference in the world.
Jennifer Scott knows how difficult it can be to live with anxiety and depression. She has experienced both since she was in her teens. Today, she writes about the ups and downs of her mental illness on SpiritFinder.org. The blog serves as both a source of information for people with mental illness and a forum where those living with anxiety and depression can come together to discuss their experiences.