Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Don't blow your top during the holidays! 8 helpful strategies for parents

Parenthood has challenges. Holidays can be stressful. Here are 8 strategies you might find helpful.

1. Make lists and keep them in a place that you can find them. It is difficult to keep things in your head when times are hectic. Even if you forget your shopping list at home and you are in the store scraping a screaming child off the floor or away from the beautifully glowing candy aisle, you might actually remember to get milk.

2. Cross things off your list or simplify them. Cross things off as you have completed them. Also, cross things off that you wanted to complete if you were in an alternate universe- like wrapping 50 little boxes of cookies to pass out to the neighbors. Cross these things off or make them easier. Perhaps, you can simplify. Put the homemade cookies on a paper plates and pass them around. Place store bought cookies on one plate and pass that around. Put store bought cookies on a plate and leave them outside your door and yell out your window, “Happy Holidays! Cookies are on the porch!”

3. Accept help. When someone asks, “What can I do to help?” give them something to do. Look at your list (see above), and pick something appropriate for them to do. Let your mom or sibling fold your laundry if they want to (it will also give them a place to sit down when it is done.) If someone cleans out your dishwasher, you can think of them fondly throughout the year while you search through all your utensil drawers for your spatula.

4. Ask for help. It is better to ask for help than to be yelling, “Help” out the car window with your child wailing in the background. If you are talking to a good friend and they are going to the toy store and you need something, ask them if they wouldn’t mind getting it for you. Ask your guests to bring food to your gathering; they will enjoy contributing to the celebration.

5. Get enough sleep. You will need it. If you have the choice between staying up late and writing out your holiday cards or going to bed because you are exhausted, choose going to bed. Your cards can go out late. Better yet, date them for next year and they will be early! (See number 2.)

6. Eat good food. If 5 year old, Sarah has 5 cookies and you have 2, how long will it take you to run down the street after Sarah has escaped out the door? (Show all your work.) If you have forgotten to eat altogether because you ignored suggestion #2, Sarah will have ran .265 miles and it will take you 10 minutes to discover that she has left the house. Remember, coffee is not yet a food group.

7. Book a spa day or a massage. Okay, you can stop laughing now. It will be like a mini vacation. If that is too much to arrange, take a nice soak in the tub while the children are asleep. If you start to doze, don’t worry, someone is likely to wake you up to use the bathroom. Enjoy those 5 minutes. If you don't have 5 minutes, try soaking your feet in warm, scented water while you are writing those holiday cards, at midnight.

8. Enjoy your children and know that you are the best parent you can be today.

Please post some of your own helpful tips!
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