5 Tips for Enjoying a Stress-Free Holiday with Kids
Words Megan Gordon
The holiday season comes on strong in early November with the inevitable Thanksgiving plans, Christmas card writing, and holiday gift lists. Add a baby (and not as much sleep as we’d like) into the mix and you’ve got a potential recipe for a very stressed out family. So this year, my husband and I sat down to scheme up some strategies to avoid that stress and simply enjoy more time together as a family.
Try to Maintain Your Routine
Babies thrive on routine, but it’s so easy to deviate from daily baths or bedtime rituals during the hustle and bustle of the holiday season. So this year we’re trying to stay firm on this point, opting to end our workday a little early or arrive at a holiday party a little late if necessary to ensure we stick to the household flow. That way we’ll (hopefully) have a happy baby, which makes for happy parents and a much less stressful holiday for everyone.
Keep Little Hands Busy
This time of year, many surfaces around the house are commandeered by wrapping paper, catalogs and packages: a lot for little hands to get into! My solution is to keep our baby as busy and engaged as possible by pulling out toys he hasn’t seen in awhile or books we haven’t read in weeks. And, as always, a simple antidote for wandering hands is to keep a Snack Disk filled with puffed cereal always at the ready.
Set Realistic Expectations
In this era of social media, it’s easy to get carried away in longing for a perfectly-styled table, festive dinners, memorable parties, and kids dressed in their holiday finest. But let’s get real: that’s a lot of pressure to put on yourself. With a baby in the household, I try to keep expectations relatively low and aim to truly enjoy the experience of the holiday as a new family rather than ensuring that we’re manufacturing the perfect photo or the most beautiful table.
Clean On the Go
We always have more people stopping by over during the holiday season than usual – which I love – but it also necessitates spending a little more time keeping things spick and span. Instead of devoting chunks of an afternoon or a full day to cleaning, I try to clean up little spills and messes right as they happen, keeping the dust pan at the ready to help with stray cereal and dusty corners.
Carving out some alone time during the holidays to write cards and catch up with family has always been important to me, as is spending time catching up with my husband. But there are only so many hours in the day and after work, the bedtime shuffle is inevitable. So we’re all about treating ourselves to small things that make life easier. For instance, bathtime with a cushion-y kneeling mat (and a glass of wine) or sharing a special dessert together after the baby goes down.