Embracing downtime during the holidays

Embracing downtime during the holidays

Holidays with young kids are both exciting and exhausting. Add in family obligations and a stream of holiday parties, and things can quickly get overwhelming. Embracing downtime can help you get through the holiday season with grace. Use these tips to get started.

Set clear boundaries

As soon as you become a parent, family members often have strong ideas about how you should spend the holidays. But truly, no matter how persuasive they are, you are the one who gets to make these decisions. Talk with your partner about your goals and dreams for the holiday season. Then try to take action that is aligned with your desires. Sure, there might be a family holiday party that you can't miss, but are there other events that you can decline without much drama? Learn how to embrace saying no as you take action to make the holidays as enjoyable as possible.

Schedule stay-at-home days

Sometimes you truly need to stop everything, put on your pajamas, and cuddle your kids. What better time to do this than in chilly-and-busy December? Try to find a day -- or a portion of the day -- when you decide to do absolutely nothing. Let the kids play with whatever toys they want, break out some craft materials, or make cookies. Do whatever will bring your family the most joy and the least stress.

Normalize and prevent overwhelm

No matter how much you try to keep it mellow this holiday season, there will likely still be moments when everyone feels overwhelmed. Talk with your kids about how it's okay to feel this way. Check in with them regularly to see how they feel about the season's activities. Sometimes we go out of our way to make holiday events happen, only to find out that our kids don't even enjoy them. For kids who are more introverted, discuss how seeing so many people during the holidays can be draining. Kids who are very social can reflect on how it makes them feel to be around different groups of people. Whatever your family is feeling, normalize it and strategize how to prevent overwhelm.

Learn more about the social and emotional development of toddlers and preschoolers.

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