Written by Donna McClintock, COO with Children’s Choice Learning Centers, Inc.
I have shared three of the ‘H’s’ in the 5 H Plan for Keeping the “Happy” in Happy Holidays and will write about the fourth and fifth ‘H’s’ over the next two weeks. 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:
- Healthy Habits (blog on November 21st)
- Hearts of Gratitude (blog on November 28th)
- Helping Hands (blog on December 5th)
- Having a Hearty Plan
- Hilarious Humor
Having A Hearty Plan
- Do NOT overschedule your children. The holiday seasons you have with your young children will pass very quickly, and there will be plenty of holidays to celebrate when they get older. Do NOT try to do it all.
- Lower the expectations that you have for your child. I realize this might seem odd. However, if you anticipate that she will behave badly at least some of the time, you are more likely to be pleasantly surprised by how well she behaves much of the time! When you lower your expectations, you just might be able to really enjoy your children.
- Change YOUR attitude about the holidays. Don’t assume that “chaos” is always bad. It could be just fun without the structure. You might find many hidden treasures of fun in what you previously dreaded once you change YOUR attitude. Plan to let go of some of the rules!
- Parents who experience the most joy during the holidays have learned HOW to stay in the “present.” Remember: “Joy lives in the present moment.”
- Plan activity-based celebrations such as baking cookies, making cards, decorating, and creating gifts. Celebrate the holidays through events in which children can participate and then donate the goods to those in need.
- Create a calendar that includes shopping excursions, visits from friends, and school events. If appropriate, show your children all the dates that they have to dress up, be away from home, or do something that they may not enjoy. If they know what’s coming up, they are more likely to cooperate. As you look at the calendar, think of ways that you can be proactive.
- Involve your children in capturing holiday memories. They could take photos, make movies, create scrapbooks, and draw pictures. This is especially helpful if they are the only children present at an adult function. Involve them in ways that they can interact with the adults.
- Set a good example for your children and make a plan to take care of your own mental and physical health.
The familiar quote, “Failing to plan means planning to fail,” certainly applies to this time of year. Put some thought into how you will manage the holiday season. Give yourself permission to relax but think ahead to the “next best move” so that you stay one step ahead of your children. Most of all, plan to have fun and relax.