Most Americans think of Thanksgiving as the iconic event of November. As parents, this time can bring a mix of emotions. Traditionally it’s a time when families come together around a feast and share in the spirit of giving and expressing gratitude for our many blessings. It’s all quite charming, and when everyone is sitting around the table with wide open eyes and growling bellies, we parents relish in the excitement that this event brings. However, the preparation before and the clean up after can be daunting and stressful. As parents what can we do to help eliminate some of the stress?
Parents struggle with stress during the holiday season because we are the ones that create the environments for our children to enjoy. We decorate, organized all sorts of holiday activities, take our children and pay for these events. We shop for outfits, call everyone, cook, bake, handout and CLEAN… For our children, the holiday season is play time. For parents, it's EXTRA work time! This leads to an imbalance in expectations which creates DRAMA!
Holiday Drama, if you are a seasoned parent, you know exactly what this means. Guilt, of not expressing joy the way you should. Shame for behaving in a “ruining the holidays” kind of way. Depressed from seeing your children less than excited about the season. Worried that the holidays won't be special for them. Expectations Meet Emotions and deliver to us HOLIDAY DRAMA! Then starts the process. Emotions become the director. Family acts out the play, and the show goes on. And this isn’t some reality TV show you can switch off. NOOOOOOOvember DRAMA is your life!
How can we better prepare ourselves for Holiday Drama?
BE AWARE: Use the past to help us see where we can change the routines that aid in making drama worse. And try something better.
TAKE INVENTORY: Who can help? Get the entire family involved in every area of the holiday season. After all, you are modeling and teaching the life skills of holiday preparation, execution and behavior.
DEMONSTRATE, be a coach during the holidays. Guide them in selecting items for holiday meals. Guide them in baking, cooking, and cleaning.
PLAN: The adults need to get together and divvy up the chores. You get the ice and pick up the turkey. I ’ll make the sweet potatoes pie and green bean casserole.
MONITOR THE SUGAR: continued below
NOOOOOOvember actually begins on the 31st of October, Halloween. Children will dress up in costume and charm the neighbors for pounds of sweets. The average child will collect more sugar in one or two hours of trick or treating than what any human should consume in an entire year. November starts off with kids stuffing their faces with what amounts to an agent to activating MORE DRAMA! That’s right! All that candy turns our adorable creatures into “out of control” MONSTERS. Kids will eat more than a years worth of sugar in just a couple of days. So monitor and slowly dispense the little doses of dynamite in a controlled fashion to keep the highs and lows from impacting the behavior of your children to a minimum. As parents if we monitor and limit our sugar intake we too will experience less spikes and fewer crashes. By doing this, we will have normalized energy levels. If we demonstrate healthy eating habits to our children, they will follow. However, If we eat healthily and feed them sugar and expect them to act normal like us, then we are not being smart!
When everybody in the family has normal energy levels cooperation is more likely to occur. Help from your child becomes possible! Behavior becomes more positive! The Holiday Drama goes away! And we can say YES to November!