We know that everyone gets excited about the holiday season, no matter how or what we celebrate. It may be the holiday break from school and work, the opportunity to gather with friends or family, the chance to ski (pray for snow!), etc. There is beauty in the diversity of all unique rituals, roles, and traditions in our community.

Along with that, come the common stressors that occur during the holiday season (preparing large meals planned for extended family, traveling to see loved ones, decorating our homes, shopping for gifts, managing childcare for kids during a break, etc.).

Today we would like to share a few helpful hints to plan for the big family get-togethers that can make a BIG difference:

  1. Talk to your kids about the holiday party beforehand. No one likes to be surprised by the guest list or the possible menu. Especially the picky eaters!!!
  2. Have a clear understanding of how long your family will stay at the get-together. Remember that it can be exhausting for children to be expected to “be nice” when dressed in their holiday outfit and inside a family member’s home.
  3. Remind your child(ren) how to say “thank you” for gifts. It may seem obvious to you, but your child(ren) may need some practice and preparation to successfully show gratitude.

During the holidays we would like to stress the importance of self-care. The funny thing about self-care is that the more we need it, the less likely we are to give it to seek it out. Think of the analogy of how the Oxygen mask is meant to work in case of emergency on the airplane. When the mask comes down you are told to put it on first before you assist others. You need to put your “Holiday Oxygen” mask on before you can be present for others. A great thing about self-care is that small changes can have BIG effects on our outlook and parenting.

Here are a few ideas:

  1. Give yourself permission to say “no, thank you”. It’s okay to disappoint people (even your children) by setting limits on what does and does not work for you this holiday season.
  2. Prioritize your sleep. Being well-rested can help you be ready for whatever the holiday season brings so you can respond from a safe place of rest rather than exhaustion.
  3. Find mindful moments. A mindful moment is a time when you stop just for a moment to really notice something with all 5 senses. Maybe it’s your morning coffee, the beat of your favorite song, or the view of Lake Tahoe. It only takes a moment to be aware and this helps to ground you in the gift of the present moment.

Emily Erkkila (parent coach) and Rachel Yakar (occupational therapist) are hosting a FREE Parenting Pop Up: Holiday Matters Session on 12/08/2021 from 6:15-8:15 PM at PT Revolution. We will talk more about grandparents, gifting, and get-togethers during the holiday season.

Please RSVP to rachel: rachelyakar@gmail.com to hold your spot. Bring a friend, family member, and neighbor to join you!!!