Time “off” equals chaos to many people, especially during the winter holidays and especially when you have primary-school-age kids out of school and underfoot. Here are some ways you can make things less hectic and actually enjoy December.
Just because your grandmother served a twelve-course Christmas dinner to twenty-nine people doesn’t mean you have to: we’re all individuals with our own limitations, passions, and skills. And just because you sent handwritten greetings to forty individuals eight years and three kids ago, doesn’t obligate you to continue that “tradition” every year forever. Consider your current obligations and needs when deciding what’s important and what’s dispensable in your holiday plans: you’ll get a lot more from the season by giving your full attention to a handful of truly meaningful items.
Pinpoint What You Really Want
If you have trouble narrowing down holiday “should do’s” and “want to do’s” to a manageable list, take a pen and paper and write down the first answers that come to mind on reading the following questions:
- If you had time for just two holiday events or traditions this season, what would they be?
- What one thing do you most wish to get out of the holidays? (Stronger family relationships, renewed peace of spirit, time to just relax and enjoy yourself?)
- Is there anything you do every year just because you’ve “always” done it—no other or better reasons?
Again, don’t waste time thinking about what you “should” choose, and don’t go beyond numerical limits: the first thing that comes to mind (unprocessed) is nearly always the most insightful answer. Have everyone in your family make their own lists, then put them together to decide what definitely stays and what might as well go. (Leave everything else in the “if we get around to it” category: don’t even write it down.)
Get the Kids Involved
Invite your children to help you bake, decorate the house, or pick out Christmas presents and New Year’s outfits. Sure, the results may be less “perfect” than if you handled everything alone; but everyone will have a lot more fun than if the kids were bored and left out and distracting you with bids for attention.
Always Save Time for Doing “Nothing”
One night a week should be reserved for quiet family time at home; it’s the only sure insurance against overload and burnout. If there are introverts in your household, let them have two or three nights a week free from outside activities, even if it means you go out alone and/or invest in a babysitter. Everyone’s holidays will be a lot happier without anyone being over-stimulated to the point of crankiness.
Note to Teachers
It’s a fact of life that kids get restless and distracted in the last couple of weeks before winter break. Don’t fight it: nagging your students to “pay attention” and “stick to your work” will just make them more eager to get away from you. Go ahead and let them talk about their plans for the holidays—you can always think of ways, or ask for suggestions, to incorporate these into curricula. And reserve extra time for physical-activity breaks!
EVERY DAY A SPECIAL DAY
At Shady Oak Primary, we take pride in making school days as enjoyable and rewarding as school vacations. Rather than expecting kids to sit and take notes through every class, we emphasize activity, play-based learning, and healthy challenges. If you’re tired of “I hate school, it’s so boring” complaints, contact us to see if our school might be the change of pace your child needs.
Blessings to parents and children of all ages!