6 Ideas For Parents Stressed Out During Their Kid's Winter Break

You don't have to be stressed with your kids this holiday season.
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 You know how you really look forward to how wonderful something is going to be and then when the time arrives, it isn't anything like what you expected?  Winter break can definitely be one of those times.  You anticipate the relaxed days of getting to sleep in and cozy up with your children, sipping hot cocoa, watching the fireplace and maybe even singing songs together.

Instead, the kids are wound up and driving themselves and everyone around them crazy.

 They are out of school and don't know what to do with themselves.  They can't sleep at night because of the holiday excitement. Your hoped-for bonding time has become a  battlefield of yelling, leaving you anxious and angry.

Don't Take Their Behavior Personally

Your child isn't acting up to make you miserable.  They probably wanted to spend quality time with you as much as you want to with them.  They aren't acting crazy to get at you -even if they tell you that they are.  They are just adjusting to the excitement and disruption of the holiday season.

The holiday season is full of stress inducing disruption, and disruption hits kids harder than it does adults.  The kids are used to their school days and daily routines, not visiting family and friends with special meals and activities.  While these activities may be fun and meaningful, all of the holiday fun uses up mental and emotional reserves.

 There often isn't much left for children to regulate themselves.  

Include Them in Holiday Planning

Giving your child some choice will give them a sense of participation and ownership.  No one wants to ruin something they are a part of making.  You can ask for input from the large to the small details - from where you will go for your winter break vacation to what small gift to take to a party host.  

The more input your child has, the more stake they have in what is going on around them.

Give Them A Heads Up On The Schedule

It is jarring to anyone when they don't know what is going to happen next.  Because of their developmental stages, children do not understand the what events will happen when as easily as adults do.  Talk with younger grade children about what will be happening in the current day and tomorrow.  Older children and teens can have the full winter break plans told to them all at once, with daily reminders of what the current day's agenda is.

Remember To Take Care Of Yourself

I am sure you already know that you must meet make sure your own needs are met before you are able to care for others.  Yet it is easy to forget over the holiday season.  The season's emphasis on giving and service combined with disrupted schedule mentioned above all while having your children home full time can make it very easy to forget about caring for yourself.

Make sure you do something nice for yourself each day.

 Even small actions can help restore your good senses.  Lock the door of the bathroom and take a hot bath or shower.  Enjoy a special cup of coffee or hot cocoa.  

If you find you are feeling especially stressed and can't get a moment's peace away from your children,  teach them to calm themselves with this deep breathing practice.  It is designed for kids, but you can do it while you teach them - leaving you and them feeling calm.

Swap Childcare To Get a Short Break

You probably know someone else who is feeling just as overwhelmed as you are, and for the same reason.  Call a friend or family member who has kids the same age and ask if you can take turns each watching the kids.  Yoru kids will get a break from all of the parent and family only time, and you can get time alone if needed.   

Just Stop And Have Fun Together

Laughter and smiles are the best medicine there is when everyone is feeling frazzled.  Try chasing each other, games of tickling, or even a pillow fight. think of a smile filled physical activity.  If your kids have been pent up indoors this will relieve some of the excess energy.

Fun games like this also help to put the focus back on togetherness.  Winter break is only one or two weeks.  Be sure to enjoy it and keep it fun.  It won't be long before your kids will be back in school and you will long for more time together.

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