Written by Donna McClintock, COO with Children’s Choice Learning Centers, Inc.
This week, I will conclude my series on the 5 H Plan for Keeping the “Happy” in Happy Holidays. It’s a simple plan that I hope has helped you navigate through the holidays and might also assist you any time in life when you have additional time demands, family members around, interrupted routines, or are traveling. No matter how we celebrate the holiday season, we must be vigilant in protecting our children and our homes from the craziness that often comes with it.
The 5 H plan consists of:
- Healthy Habits (November 21st blog)
- Hearts of Gratitude (November 28th blog)
- Helping Hands (December 5th blog)
- Having a Hearty Plan (December 12th blog)
- Hilarious Humor
- Laugh out loud with your child during these ‘Happy Holidays.’ Your holiday is NOT as joyful as it could be if you don’t have a few “belly laughs” with your child.
- Replace your routines with the JOY of the unexpected! Put away the mundane of everyday life and live inside the smiles and laughter of your children. Remember that they want YOU. Do something out of your comfort zone that makes them laugh. Wear a crazy hat, silly socks, or crazy holiday attire. Give a silly gift. Show your playful side and keep everyone smiling.
- Embrace childhood enthusiasm. Parents must coach their child and rein him in when his enthusiasm causes his behavior to get out of control, but that’s okay. It’s our job to help our children regain control. Don’t keep yourself from embracing enthusiasm with your child for fear it will get out of control. Let go and experience it! Setting limits then becomes a lesson rather than a punishment.
- Change your attitude. Change the words you use — chaos becomes “unstructured,” “out of control” becomes “child-like fun.” This doesn’t mean that you allow your children to do anything they want. They will not feel safe with that. This means that you look for the humor in an event FIRST. You work to find the smile.
- If you allow your child to stay up later than usual, eat sugary treats, or ease off on other rules of the home, be prepared for the consequences and DECIDE to enjoy the memory. It’s all in how you approach it.
- Children have playful spirits. They LOVE it when their parents play with them. PLAY with your children this holiday season. If you want to keep the “Happy” in Happy Holidays, study young children and watch how they really get into the moment. Remember that “Joy lives in the present moment,” so get into the present moment with your child.
- The holiday season is a great time to focus on peace regardless of how or even if you celebrate. Talk with your children about something as simple as sibling peace or as complicated as world peace. The principle is the same. The end of one year and the beginning of another is a great time to discuss “new beginnings” and how to work toward peace with everyone.
- If you choose to celebrate, don’t miss the magic of the season. Experience it through the eyes of a child. As Andy Rooney said, “One of the most glorious messes in the world is the mess created on Christmas morning in the living room. Don’t clean it up too quickly.”
I hope that you have enjoyed this series of blogs and may 2013 be a great year for each of you.