With Thanksgiving behind, many enter the Christmas season. This can be a magical time for children, but at times, it can be stressful for parents. This can mean planning time with family, holiday parties, buying presents, and keeping up the magic of the season. Depending on the expectations that are set, this can make the season more or less stressful. Trying to find a way to keep all of this balanced can make the season more magical for everyone.
One important thing to consider is what expectations do you want to set and maintain. There can be several factors in determining what make sense. There have been some who feel that they want to make up for last year as they feel that children missed out. While it was different last year, remember that whatever happens this year may be what you children continue to expect in the following years. It is also important to remember that the Christmas season can also be magical with time spent as a family. Determining how you want to spend the holiday and what expectations to set is something to consider.
Another helpful expectation to manage is around gifts. Families have different opinions on what this should look like and differ on many factors such as money spent and how many gifts everyone is receiving. This is a decision that each family needs to make on their own and think about what makes most sense for their family. Remember to talk to your children about what this will look like so they can try to manage their expectations of Christmas morning. It is also important for them to understand that every family will handle this differently and that this does not make one better or worse, but just different. Children can also dream big on their gifts as they think about the magic of the season and what they want, but this does not mean that this is what needs to be purchased.
Other aspects of the holiday to consider are how many parties are going to happen or will you attend. When and how often will you see your family and what will this look like? It is important to set these expectations not only with your children, but your extended family as well. It is important to remember that you need to determine what is going to work for your children and yourselves and that this may not be the same as what the rest of your family wants. This may mean that you need to have some conversations with them about what is reasonable for your family and what everyone can handle. If you overwhelm your children with too many parties or too much time away from home, this can lead to difficulties at home.
Make sure to remember to determine what you want to have happen in your house. This includes aspects such as decorations and other holiday activities. Are you going to make Christmas cookies or a gingerbread house? Are you going to sing Christmas carols? Are your children expected to buy gifts, will you help, or are they going to make any of their gifts? While this may be a lot of things to think about, having answers to these already will help when it comes time for these activities.
Make sure you are communicating with your children about what the season is going to look like and what you expect from them. This can be a time with a lot of changes for them in terms of schedule and routine so making sure they know what their expectations are will be beneficial. If they are not aware of them, how can you expect them to be followed? Remember to take some time to slow down and relax this holiday season as well. If you have more questions are this, please feel free to reach out to me.