As Thanksgiving and Christmas draw near, the anxiety of visitation with your children heightens. The pressure one puts on themselves at this time of year is normal but there are steps we can take to lessen the concern. Below are just some helpful pointers to make your Holidays peaceful and joyful.
Kids Come First!
1) Your children are off from school and all they want to do is enjoy their time away from their teachers, homework, and school. Give them a little extra space. Staying up a little later a night or two, or sleeping in will be deeply appreciated by your kids.
2) While no one should continually spoil their children, a special activity or two will not be harmful. From a video game tournament on Thanksgiving Day to making a gingerbread house is just two ways to make your children feel special. While shopping during the holidays, let the kids buy a small early present for themselves.
3) Create new traditions! When we reflect on our own childhood, we do so with thoughts of what traditions we celebrated with our families. Now is time to give your children traditions that they will always remember. Many schools are not in session on Wednesday before Thanksgiving. If your children’s school is not in session, why not begin the tradition of going to the movies on Wednesday afternoon. Many of the children’s movies first open on the day before Thanksgiving. What better way to open the holiday than a day at the movie theaters. Other great ideas include taking your daughter to The Nutcracker or taking a sleigh ride. There are many different ideas, just choose one or two and begin some new traditions!
4) Have the children remember your ex-spouse. Though these are difficult days, by having your children either buy a present or make present for your ex-spouse, you will be rewarded double fold. Your children will gain a lot of respect for you and you will be teaching them the importance of loving their parents, but also the meaning of the holidays.
5) Remember the children’s Christmas lists! There is nothing more disappointing to a child than opening up presents at Christmas and not receiving any presents on their Christmas list. Sit down with the children and go over the lists with them. Memorize the list or keep a copy with you when you go Christmas shopping and you will see happy faces on your children as they open up their gifts from you!
6) Relax and surprise your children! On one of the mornings when you have the children, let them sleep in. When they awake tell them you have taken the day off work and they get to decide what the day’s events are. Let them take over the decisions from eating out for lunch to ice skating, bumming around the house, etc. When the day comes to an end they will be overjoyed and happy that you let them run the show for the day.
7) Avoid the crowds and have a movie marathon. Round up the kids and take them to your local Blockbuster and have them select a few movies. Buy some candy, soda, and popcorn and settle in at home. Turn off the cellphones, close the drapes and turn off the lights. Don’t let anyone bother you and begin your marathon. Is there anything better than zoning out and relaxing as you watch a few movies that you all enjoy?
8) While we all may have traditions of putting up a Christmas tree, why not start a tradition of taking down the tree and decorations without creating a stress environment. Make a game out of it or do it in stages which may make the “chore” less difficult. Maybe you can hide presents or special treats as part of this event.
9) Lastly, remember what this time of year truly means. Reflect on how fortunate you and your children are in having each other. Let the problems of the past year dissolve and realize that the most important aspect of your relationship with the children is that you love, respect, and appreciate one another.