10 Tips to Make the Most of Holidays with Your Children

From MilitaryOneSource Monthly Newsletter

The holidays are a great time of year, especially if you’re a kid, but they can be hectic too. Here are 10 ideas to help make the holidays more relaxed and enjoyable for you and your children.

1. Spread holiday rituals out over several weeks to create a slow and pleasant build-up, such as decorating, trimming the tree, writing holiday cards and baking cookies.

2. Children can get overly tired and wound up, which will spoil their fun time and yours. When possible, stick to routines like regular bedtimes and mealtimes.

3. Feed your kids before a holiday party if you don't know when the meal will be served, or if you aren't sure your children will eat what they're offered.

4. Manage your children's expectations about gifts by having them make a wish list and letting them know if any of the items are out of the question, such as a pony.

5. Let your children open gifts from relatives early if they get them early so that they can avoid holiday gift overload.

6. Encourage generosity in your kids with acts of kindness, such as contributing gifts to a toy drive, singing carols at a senior center or serving meals at a homeless shelter.

7. Remember that your kids are kids. They will be excited and anxious, so don’t expect perfect behavior during a holiday meal with relatives. Try to avoid battles by insisting they do things you know they don’t like, such as wearing a certain outfit or hairstyle. Be aware that your infant may get anxious being passed from family member to family member.

8. Celebrate traditions that instill a sense of family history and identity, such as decorating your home with familiar seasonal décor, eating special foods, attending a religious or holiday event or listening to holiday music.

9. Remember that changes in your family — such as a divorce, death or deployment — may especially impact your children at holiday time. Some tips:

Give your children the opportunity to express their feelings and share with them what you are feeling.

Make remembering a loved one a meaningful part of your holiday celebration.

If a parent is deployed, record a special holiday message or prepare a care package to send.

10. Mark the end of the holiday to help prevent emotional letdown. Maybe hold back one present to give the day after. Take down decorations together. Place new pictures in a photo album filled with family memories.

See this helpful article for even more holiday tips for your family.