The Holidays - The most wonderful time of the year!! And - sometimes the most difficult and full of stress as well, particularly for parents. So, how to ENJOY the Season, and your children? I'm sharing some amazing posts I've read lately that fit with our family values. Yours may be totally different, which is great! Simply a snapshot of what we are into these days.
Keep your Holiday low stress. Mindfully consider about what you actually want to do with your family for Christmas or whatever Winter holidays you celebrate. Beyond where to be and who to spend your time with, exactly WHAT do you want to be doing? Cooking and entertaining is your thing? Cool, do it. But if it's not, find a way be hanging out and relaxing instead. Find small ways to do what you would like, rather than what you *should* do. How does this help your children? When you're happy and stress free, so are they. Keep everyone happy.
Check in with your parenting style and discipline. Winter, and in particular the solstice, is a natural time for contemplation. Are you happy with your parenting? How is the family doing as a whole? Are there better tools to add to your toolbox? The holidays can be a difficult time for parentings when children don't "obey". But here's the question: Do you really want them to obey anyway?! This article describes how we already parent, and I loved the examples it offers and how newbies to Conscious Parenting could see exactly what this looks like. Here's an except:
"I’ve read all the books about discipline, but realized they are all forms of one idea: the control and management of children. It’s oxymoronic: We also say we want to raise children who will become autonomous, courageous, compassionate and deep-thinkers when they become adults. Citizens of a democracy. Leaders of the world. Yet our discipline in at home and at school still reflect the Industrial Revolution. A clockwork of control through rewards and punishments where sitting still and simply doing what you are told might reap benefits."
Sailor Jerry anyone? Concerned about the language that comes out when you're under stress? Maybe don't worry about it! I loved this article from Fatherly. If nothing else and you totally disagree, this might be a good laugh for you:)
Kindness Elves. I know many people LOVE their Elf on a Shelf. No judgement, you're doing what works for you and your family. It is however something that doesn't work for us. I dislike the focus on external motivation, punishment/rewards, and that "someone is always watching." I want my child to make the right decisions for the right reason, whether or not anyone is watching or will find out later. THAT is success to us, which means building very strong internal motivation. I do however see the magic and fun that the Elf can bring for kids, and that's why I love the concept of Kindness Elves. You can still have a cute Elf or two, name them, and bring them out every year. However instead of the Elf "always watching", they teach children ways to spread kindness, peace and love during the Holiday Season. Who can argue with that?! More about Kindness Elves.
Parent Self-Care. As always - so important during times of stress and so likely to be cut around the holidays. Do what you can and don't stress here, but I really encourage you to be kind and gentle on yourself. If you enjoy making Pinterest worthy treats for preschool, cool. If it's a crazy, stressful mess for you - just don't!! Outsource what you need to. Buy from the store or pay a talented friend to help you out. If you can afford to have some extra help cleaning, or gift wrapping, or cooking etc, please do! Your children are happy when you are. Take care of your sanity.
Keep everyone well. If you're a follower here, you know the basics. Minimize the sugar. Eat lots of good fat and whole foods. Supplement as necessary - fish oil, vitamin D, probiotics. Essential oils can help. Sleep. Meditate. Exercise. And - have fun:)
Favorite tip for thriving through the Holidays with your family? Let me know!