3. They maintain a sense of continuity
Many kids love routines and consistency, regardless of age. You can grab your kiddos’ usual bedtime story and stick it in your bag if you’re visiting relatives out of town. Odds are good that they’d much rather hear the same story for a few nights in a row than to go without. I call it “Routine in a Box.”
A few comforts from home will help your child find joy in familiarity, and help you feel merry and bright!
The same goes for touch, even for older kids. If your child normally has a lot of contact with you throughout the day, then he or she will be inclined to crave that and then some (hey, you’re their personal lovey!). Stay present. Keep touching.
4. They remember holiday stress is temporary
Obvious, right? Still, somehow, many people go into the holidays with extended family as if they were signing up for a hot date in purgatory. If you find yourself there (with anxiety, I mean, not in purgatory, because I don’t really think that’s a thing), give yourself a gold star for each moment you feel peaceful. Acknowledging and tracking positive feelings among the stressful ones can help you be aware that good things are happening. You can do this, joyfully. Holidays and stress don’t need to share the same strand of lights.
5. They keep an open mind
Just like many of us do at home when raising kids, you can take the “pick your battles” mantra on the road, too. It travels beautifully!
Things are different now. As the parent of your own children, you get to examine how you were raised. Engage where you want to. Debate where it’s important.
Ask yourself if you share your extended family’s perspectives or have a different take on things. If you observe them, some of your triggers from growing up can offer you insight into your own parenting. Keeping an open mind can be an incredible gift with psychological benefits, and taking an intellectual approach rather than an emotional one when something bothers you can do wonders for reducing holiday stress. So, you can find joy while you examine your family anew.
6. They consciously look for joy
More than anything else, they look for opportunities to connect and find joy intentionally. If Great-Great-Great-Granny’s mince pie doesn’t do it for you, remember that the cookies are just on the next table over. Connect with Great-Great-Great Granny over a gingerbread house. Invite her outside to catch snowflakes on your tongues. You might be surprised what she can still do. You, and your kids, will forever cherish the memory.
Holidays and family can, indeed, be a joyful pair. Our children can see it and be a part of it. If we’ve not experienced joy with extended family before, our kids can witness our ability to find it in a whole new way. What a wonderful gift we can give them in allowing them to be part of that.
Sarah Moore is a published writer, positive parenting educator, wellness advocate, and world traveller. Her work spans the globe, reaching readers on six continents and appearing in publications such as The Natural Parent Magazine, Scary Mommy, and Macaroni Kid.
She has been certified by the Raffi Foundation for Child Honouring. She wholeheartedly recommends the course for parents, educators, and all others who influence the lives of children.
She also holds BA/MFS degrees in Journalism, French, and Media/Arts/Cultural Production. Read more about Sarah here.