http://www.ofearthandhearth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/5-Tips-to-Help-You-and-Your-Kids-Enjoy-the-Holidays-More.png It’s no secret that the holidays are a stressful time. There are parties to plan, gatherings to attend, meals to cook (and eat), and shopping to do. What we sometimes forget is that things that are stressful for us are often as much, if not more so, for our children. As adults, we’ve had a lifetime of practice in stress management techniques. Our children, on the other hand, have not had that same opportunity. Their inability to manage their stress often manifests as undesirable behavior. “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” as the old saying goes. Here are a few tips to help save your sanity and keep the peace in your house so you, and your children, can enjoy the holidays more. ### Keep it routine One of the hallmarks of the holiday season is that it brings activities and traditions that only take place once a year. But this is also one of the major causes of stress for children during the holidays because it means the loss of their routines. Routines and schedules make children feel safe because their environment is predictable and they know what to expect next. Help eliminate the stress caused by loss of predictability, particularly during holiday travel, by keeping as much of your child’s routine in place as possible. This will be more important for younger children than for older children. Keeping nap times regular, in particular, will be a lifesaver during the festivities. But even keeping small things, like your child’s blanket or favorite book, or maintaining the bedtime routine, will go a long way to making your child feel more secure and help them enjoy the holidays. ### Prep kids for events For times when routines must be given up for holiday events, preparing kids for these changes will increase predictability for them. Tell your child where you’ll be going, what you’ll be doing, and who you’ll be with. Knowing what to expect will decrease meltdowns and the resistance that comes with unexpected change. ### Practice saying “no” It’s easy to get overloaded with events and activities during the holiday season. We want to participate in all the parties, see all the light displays, attend all the concerts, and generally revel in all the season has to offer. And we want our kids to experience all the sights and wonders as well. However, taking on too many engagements is not just stressful for us, which can lead to us being short and cranky with our kids. It’s also stressful for our children. It is important for us to carefully choose the things we are going to engage our families in to avoid overwhelming ourselves and our kids. This may mean saying “no” to some events and activities. ### Schedule downtime In addition to saying “no” to some activities, we need to be intentional about scheduling downtime for ourselves and our families. This means planning blocks of time where we can just be home, relaxing, with no agenda except being together. This gives everyone time to wind down, decompress, and reconnect, all of which are important to reducing unwanted behavior in children. ### Focus on family time This may seem obvious, but despite being a major part of the “reason for the season”, family time can easily get lost in the hustle and bustle of celebrating. Taking even ten minutes to sit with your child and focus on them (that means no TV, no phones, just you and the child) will help the child feel more connected and more relaxed. This, in turn, will reduce undesirable behavior and help everyone in your house to enjoy the holidays more. The holidays can be an incredibly magical time for families as we get to watch our children experience all the traditions and rituals that the season brings. But we all know that the holidays can easily go from magical to manic as we try to do and see everything in a short time. This frantic pace can easily be overwhelming for our children, which in turn contributes to unwanted behaviors. However, utilizing the 5 easy steps above can help you save your sanity, restore the magic of the season, and help you and your kids enjoy the holidays more. Comments or questions? Leave them below. I’d love to chat about it! And check out my blog [Of Earth and Hearth](http://www.ofearthandhearth.com) for more tips and tricks!