For most couples/ parents the schedule, roles & responsibilities are well set as most kids spend a large part of the day time at school. Weekends always have a plan/ to-do list/ some function to attend, etc. Life is cool and manageable.
Come Christmas / new year holidays and the problems begin – more so if Christmas is not your festival to celebrate – parents don’t get as many holidays as a kid gets! Even those who work in MNCs may lament “next 10 days nothing much happens in our company” but they still have to attend the office. It is a major challenge to apportion time and attention between the home and work.
Lifecountz quizzed several parents and compiles suggestions from/ activities they make kids do to benefit from others. Here are the points to remember for Parenting during the Holidays:
- Do not attempt to over schedule their day. They are even looking forward to the holidays and it may stress them; a stressed child translates into stressed parents.
- A mother of 3 was happy to share, “kids normally tear open gift wrappers; when my angel was 3, I taught her to open a gift with due care so that the wrapper is not torn. This way I also inculcated the concept of recycling in her. Now all the gifts we receive round the year are her responsibility and I am sure by next year I can even make her handle all the paper for subsequent use”
- Another mother of 6 shared, “I taught Ryan how to gift wrap. Even I was amazed when on 2nd try he could do it quite well. Even I did not know he is such a keen observer. It is such a delight to keep him occupied and out of trouble around the house”
- Involve them in any event that may be happening – a party, a meal out, visiting friends etc. If eating out and they are the right age (3-4 years), teach table manners, holding a spoon, fork etc. if visiting friends, teach them proper manners – greeting others when you meet and saying good byes when you leave etc. If hosting a party involve them in decoration, laying the table, etc. (again based on age)
- Try your best not to disturb routine. Regarding letting them sleep for long on a holiday and making them wake up on usual time, we had divided opinion; some said “even I would love to sleep for some more time on a holiday, so why not kids?” whereas other parents were of the opinion “these are short holidays and if they get into the habit of sleeping late, they will give trouble waking up early when schools reopen”. We must respect both versions as both are rational. It is a huge task to deal with sleep deprived kids.
In a nutshell, you wish to be stress free during the holidays, ensure your kids are happy and stress free to begin with.
Dr Chander Asrani, is a post-graduate in Family Medicine. He has over 37 years in family practice and has been offering wellness and disease management services to corporates. He is soon to launch virtual clinics. He writes on various subjects of wellness; learning to live with chronic ailments and stress. Know more about him at about.me/drasrani.