How to reduce Christmas stress

Dear friend,

I have always loved Christmas, it is a magical time of year especially when you have young kids. Their wonder and excitement is infectious. I am that mum crying during the nativity play, at the latest soppy advert on T.V. and overdoing the decorations.

Christmas can be a time of stress for some children too. Some children struggle with the lack of structure and routine and the added pressure of being 'good' is really hard as well as the general excitement of the holidays. Stressed, unhappy kids means a stressed unhappy mummy.

My top tips to reduce Christmas Stress...

Planning: Be careful not to plan too much!
Advent calendars can help kids with the lead up to Christmas and we also use a month calendar with key events noted so that we can cross off the days.

Parties: Christmas parties and extended time with family and friends is special and should be treasured but some children may need support.
Encourage children to socialise initially but have a survival kit to take with you. (This could include a book, music, computer game/ipad, drawing pad and pens) Give your child a timescale e.g. We will leave at 8, but be prepared to leave earlier if necessary.

Don’t go overboard on decorations:  keep them out of kids bedrooms entirely.
If you are away for Christmas then why not just focus on one area of your home or on one thing e.g. the tree.

Remember some kids take things very literally: Autistic parents do not have the advantage of 'neurotypical' parents who can use an element of blackmail to ensure their kids are good before Christmas. The big lad had a lot of stress around being good (as in his eyes he hadn't been good enough) and this lead to several sleepless nights. Many 'neurotypical' kids also find this pressure too much.

Shopping: Set a budget and stick to it! Take a list and check off as you go along.
If you hate the Christmas rush then the kids will, leave them at home with a friend/relative.

Gift giving: The anticipation of a day when you get lots of new stuff can be totally overwhelming. Some children find it too stressful having presents under the tree and some children find too many presents overwhelming. Writing letters or making wish lists helps. You can also stagger your present opening.  Set up some gifts so that they are ready to play with.

Stick to your kids usual routines: Stick to your normal routine as much as possible. Try to build in some quiet time before bed. But be prepared that kids may not be able to sleep on Christmas Eve, relax the rules a little and let them stay up a bit later.

Talk: Make sure that you have conversations with your family and friends about everyone’s expectations of Christmas well in advance. That way you can make compromises that suit everyone. Don't be frightened to say; NO!

Food: A traditional Christmas dinner is a lot of work and many people are choosing to eat out or eat on Christmas Eve instead so Christmas day is free to relax. Why not share the work by asking guests to bring a dish?

Get out of the house: Exercise reduces stress and keeps family strife to a minimum.

Keep on smiling: We all have those annoying relatives who were obviously perfect parents. Nod and smile sweetly, or better still change the subject when they start to give you advice.

Let's make a deal to be kind to ourselves this Christmas. Our rose tinted memories often lead to unrealistic expectations.

Relax and enjoy the holiday time. Remember that it is your holiday too so do something for you; get a pedicure, go to the hairdresser or have a vino or two with a friend.

Most importantly enjoy being in the moment with your family.

My favourite link ups...

Never miss a post....

©imperfectmumx ~ 2014 - present day. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to imperfectmumx with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.