Submitted by Daniel Sherwin
Are your kids’ meltdowns putting a damper on your holiday joy? Disruptions to familiarity and routine can make the holidays a stressful time for kids, but you don’t need to suffer until the season is over. With a positive morning routine for the holidays, you can keep your kids’ anxiety (and yours!) in check and start each day off on a positive note. Here’s how you can create a morning routine that sets the stage for a stress-free holiday season.
Get Your Home in Order
With kids out of school and family visiting from out of town, the holidays don’t leave a lot of time for household management. Getting your house in order before the holidays begin will reduce your stress and allow you to be present with your family.
Spend a weekend knocking out as many tasks as possible from your to-do list. This is the time to finish up your holiday shopping, wrap gifts, and tackle all your fall home maintenance. You should also organize your closets to purge off-season clothing and make space for incoming holiday gifts. An hour or two spent packing up seasonal items and adding storage with hanging rods and shelves pays off in spades when the holidays are in full swing and you don’t have the time to dig to find what you need.
Set Bedtimes and Wake TimesIt’s tempting to stay up late when you’re visiting with family you haven’t seen in ages. But if your body is accustomed to waking up early, you might struggle to sleep in and make up the lost hours. To avoid overtired, grumpy family members, stick to your normal sleep schedule during the holidays. If you need to adjust your family’s sleep schedule, do so gradually. BabyCenter recommends shifting your schedule by one hour each night a few days before the trip begins.
Wake Up Before Your Kids
This one is especially important if you’re traveling for the holidays because the place you’re staying might not be childproofed to your standards. However, waking up before your kids serves a greater purpose than preventing children from getting into something they shouldn’t.
Waking up early gives you quiet time to gather your thoughts, plan the day, and practice self-care before you’re bombarded with kids’ requests. And when you start your day organized and relaxed, your kids feel calmer too. As the Washington Post puts it, “Our kids feed off our emotions and get more distressed when we’re distressed.”
Cook a Healthy Breakfast
When school and work are in session, grab-and-go breakfasts reign supreme. But now that you have a little more time on your hands, you can cook a healthy breakfast for your family.
Family breakfast doesn’t have to be complicated — the Kitchn lists seven recipes that are as quick and easy as they are kid-friendly — and the benefits are huge. A healthy breakfast fuels your family’s bodies and minds to improve focus, mood, and energy. The family breakfast is also a great time to talk about your plans for the day. When kids know exactly what to expect, they’re less likely to experience anxiety and the problematic behaviors that come with it.
It’s true that these four steps might not completely eliminate stress from your holiday season. Even the most perfect morning routine can’t erase all the stress that arises from getting stuck in holiday traffic or listening to a relative rant endlessly at the dinner table. However, when your family starts each day calm, well-rested, and well-fed, you’re all better prepared to handle what the holiday season throws at you.
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