Christmas is an exciting time of year, but that can be a double-edged sword. Yes, there are fun traditions and family meet-ups to look forward to, but the giddy anticipation can sometimes boil over into impatience. With a week and a half to wait between the end of the school term, nurseries and child care ending for the winter break, you could find yourself dealing with temper tantrums.
This article explores the pressures of parenting at Christmas and solutions for looking after each other.
Activities to Keep the Children Busy
You have a lot of time to fill with the children as they are gearing up to Christmas. You know what it is like at that age, a week can seem like a century. So, here are some solutions for family activities to entertain and engage your children as you wait for the big day and avoid you having to deal with temper tantrums.
Play board games
Board games are a fun, wholesome activity. They maintain the focus of the family and add a little healthy competition into proceedings too. Board games can also be educational and your kids can learn some helpful skills through play.
There are board games for all ages, from the very youngest to your teenagers. Each child can choose their favourite game and you can rotate through them so everyone gets their selection.
Create an activity advent calendar
An activity advent calendar is like a normal advent calendar, but you place a task behind each door and you and the children open them every day and complete that task. It can be small things, such as going carol singing for your elderly neighbour or creating your own homemade Christmas decorations.
The calendar creates some excitement each day as you guess what the task might be, and then you gain the satisfaction of completing the task later on.
Spot the Christmas decorations
Get yourself wrapped up and get out into the fresh air. The mental health benefits of fresh air and the headspace you get from being outside are amazing. It is a release from the stuffy and stifling home and you get to run around and get those endorphins pumping.
Stick on your wellies and scarves and go hunting for Christmas decorations in the local area. This is a way to use up energy and enter into the festive spirit at the same time.
As the nights draw in, people will have their Christmas lights on earlier, making it a magical experience.
Of course, with dark afternoons and evenings, you need to be careful when walking the streets with kids. Make sure they are dressed in reflective clothing and they they don’t rush out into the roads
The Importance of Being Together at Christmas
Togetherness is key at Christmas and it is okay to prioritise that over the gift-giving bit of the festive season. When we shift the focus from the presents under the tree and concentrate on presence instead, we relax and enjoy ourselves and children flourish in a loving environment. You should find yourself dealing with temper tantrums less often.
Make memories by taking days out, planning activities together and even just chilling and watching a seasonal movie together. The calmer you can make these weeks leading up to Christmas Day, the less fraught they will be. Snuggle up with duvets and popcorn and just enjoy being together.
For many parents, there can be a sense of guilt from having to choose between family and work. You feel an obligation to both. And this is especially present in dads, in my observation.
I’m seeing Dads still being affected by the thought of how they will meet their family’s needs financially, emotionally and mentally. At this time of year, that pressure is felt even more – let’s enjoy these holidays by BEING present, not GIVING presents.
Giving the gift of time to our children is something that is completely invaluable, yet benefits us all. I’m encouraging Mums and Dads to sit down and spend time with the family, not feel the pressure or need to work all hours to pay for presents under the tree.
How Working Parents Can Make the Most of Their Presence
If you are working parents, of course, it is not just as easy as saying that you should spend time with your children. However, your focus should be to make the most of the time that you do have together.
Put down your devices when you are around the family and really engage with them. Even if you only have a short time together ahead of Christmas Day, these moments of connection are the times that they will remember forever. Whether it is making decorations, taking part in their favourite activity or just getting out for a walk together.
It would be great to have a good quantity and quality of time together, but if you cannot do anything about the quantity, remember that the quality of the shared time is within your control.
Get Help Dealing With Temper Tantrums and More
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