Tips for parents

Navigating the Challenges of Parenting During the Holiday Season

When plans are made, the parent ought to give the children advance notice as well to avoid unpredictability that may throw them off-balance because of last-minute cancellations, inadequate money management, or disinterest in activities.  
18 December 2022

Oftentimes, children become our major focuses during the holidays. They develop a higher pitch for excitement and demand attention from the adults in their lives. During this period, children may also develop new or strange behaviour from exposure to various information or environments. In addition, societal pressures may lead parents to believe that they should provide their children with everything they want, even when unattainable. Financial prudence comes to a full test during the holidays, considering other expenditures that must be met. 

Prioritizing Parental Well-being and Children’s Needs

These are some of the issues that a parent must address while staying within the holiday spirits. Given that stressors are still there during the holiday, experts recommend that a parent must begin by focusing on their own well-being. The idea of pleasing everyone is far-fetched and unrealistic. However, the rule of thumb is to ensure that the important individuals in our lives, particularly children, are well taken care of since they are likely to be hung up on small details over the course of their growth. It is therefore recommended that parents find pleasure in giving even as they attempt to look after their children’s well-being. Giving includes both gifts and dedication in the child’s patterns, creating time for their favourite activities or participating in charitable projects.

Managing Work and Holiday Stressors

Often, holidays for parents are not always accompanied by work breaks. Some parents have to report to the workplace or their businesses. In this case, work-related stressors, in combination with the pressure of holiday demands, may lead to mental instability. In other cases, parents out of work may take the holidays as an opportune time to overindulge in drinking or travelling. Psychologists advise that the parent must make ways to manage holiday-related stressors by initiating conversations with families about their opinion and expectations about the holiday, working with goals to set realistic objectives on spending, and strengthening social connections by accepting support and participating in activities that reduce the stressors . Parents must always keep things in perspective by facing their fears and using their strengths to manage them.

Importance of White Space and Rest during Holidays

White space in the holiday calendar is very key to a parent. Amidst the invitation acceptance or the annual plans to visit persons or places, unstructured time should be left for personal rejuvenation or spontaneous occasions such as snuggling with the children. Holidays must not be filled with all-through activities but must also incorporate the essence – spending time out of the norm – which includes rest. However, rest is a product of discipline and planning to greatly manage the stressors that bring about emotional and psychological turmoil . During the holiday seasons, a parent must ensure their children’s sleep patterns are not compromised. Holidays must not complicate things but rather make them interesting and enjoyable.

Advance Planning for a Stress-free Holiday Experience

Advance arrangement is important in planning for the holiday seasons. This means that holiday activities must not come at impromptu; rather, the parent must be aware of the needs of the holiday seasons and prepare in advance. This can include budget planning and vacation time. It might also include making agreements with children on the use of electronics, media, rules on dining out or at relatives’ places, and other practical activities. When plans are made, the parent ought to give the children advance notice as well to avoid unpredictability that may throw them off-balance because of last-minute cancellations, inadequate money management, or disinterest in activities. These plans aim to ensure safety and create a sense of responsibility for the children in the activities and events they aspire to be involved in.

Dealing with Unanticipated Challenges and Keeping Things Simple

Despite high-end preparations, parents may encounter some unanticipated occurrences during the holidays. One loophole parents may need to pay attention to during planning may include overplanning and complicating the overall idea. As a result, parents may end up creating problems that did not exist in the first place. While attempting to break the norm, parents and children must ensure that some core aspects are respected to make things simple and fun. Parents must be proud of themselves and avoid pressures that lead to holiday stress by being comfortable in their behaviour. Similarly, teaching the children about the relevance of being thoughtful, kind, and helpful to one another must be emphasized. Altogether, parents must be good role models during the holidays instead of stressing teaching, given that children tend to learn more directly from observing their parents’ actions.


Further readings:

1. “The Importance of Self-Care for Parents during the Holidays”

2. “Tips for Managing Holiday Stressors for Parents”

3. “Why Rest and Unstructured Time is Essential during the Holidays”

4. “5 Tips for Planning a Stress-Free Holiday with Kids”

5. “Simplicity and Flexibility: The Keys to a Happy Holiday Season”