Keeping the “Happy” in Happy Holidays – Part 3 of 5

Written by Donna McClintock, COO with Children’s Choice Learning Centers, Inc.

Over the next three weeks, I will continue to write about the 5 H Plan for Keeping the “Happy” in Happy Holidays. As advocates for our children, we must be vigilant in protecting them and our homes from the craziness that often accompanies this time of year. The 5 H Plan is simple, and I hope it will help you navigate through the holidays and any time in life when you have additional time demands, family members around, interrupted routines, or are traveling.

The 5 H plan consists of:

1.     Healthy Habits (November 21)

2.     Hearts of Gratitude (November 28)

3.     Helping Hands

4.     Having a Hearty Plan

5.     Hilarious Humor

Helping Hands

1.     Help your child. He cannot succeed on his own. He needs your guidance to be successful throughout life and especially when there are extra people, pressures, and outside influences around him. Seek to understand HOW your child develops. Brush up on your parenting skills. Study to fully understand the age and stage of each of your children. Don’t expect your 18-month-old to want to be with everyone.  She is in a phase that most likely finds her obsessed with Mommy.  A 2-1/2-year-old is going to be all about independence — “I do it myself,” she says. You shouldn’t take it personally if your 12-year-old is more interested in being with her peers than being with the family. Know what is normal and don’t mistake normal behavior for misbehaving.

2.     Observe who is carrying the load of the season and work together to make the holidays enjoyable for everyone. Watch to see what you can do to assist the females in your family.

3.      Remember your values and teach them to your children. Talk about the values that are important to your family. Develop new traditions. Hold a family meeting and determine what traditions you will continue to observe. Don’t get stuck doing what you have always done just because you have always done it that way.

4.     Give children a role. Very young children can understand helping and even very “uninterested” pre-teen and teenagers will benefit from helping others. They learn by doing, and it’s the best way for them to “catch” your family values.

5.     Remind children of how you expect them to behave. Review the rules so that a child has every opportunity to succeed. Find a way to keep the message positive, light, fun, and engaging but make sure that each child understands the expected behavior. I remember my mom lovingly reminding me of the rules at my grandmother’s home right before I walked in the door. My grandmother did not like for us to sit on her bed once it had been made. She was very sweet, but this was one of her pet peeves. Mom would always “help” me be successful.

6.      As much as possible, allow children to participate in the actual shopping, preparation, planning, baking, creating, or whatever is involved in making gifts or goodies for others.

7.     Instill compassion and encourage generosity by getting your children involved. The best way to instill compassion in your child is first of all be compassionate yourself. Values are caught, not taught. Children must participate in acts of compassion WITH you. Generosity comes from a heart of gratitude and from recognizing that there are others in the world with far less. Find ways to expose your child to those in need.

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