The other day I was seeking refuge at, where else, the nail salon, when I struck up a conversation with the woman sitting next to me. It was one of those interesting moments; there we were, two of perhaps the most relaxed women in the joint. I was relaxed because, as I said, I was in the nail salon (alone) and she was relaxed because she knew the secret. Well actually 5 of them.
Gail Benzion-Beyer is a psychologist who put pen to paper and offered up 5 quick tips for frazzled parents trying to make it through the holiday season. Er, I mean, ENJOY the holiday season. As any parent knows, changes in the daily routines and new situations can be triggers for epic meltdowns. So here are the 5 “P’s Of Holiday Peace”.
Take a look at these and then, according to Gail, don’t forget the last one: cool down time for yourselves, to recharge, rest and relax.
Enjoy the Holidays!
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PLAN 1 of 5Plan your activities in advance and make a schedule that works for both you and your children. Be very specific, writing down locations, directions and times. Make sure to leave time in your schedule to get where you have to go and wiggle room for the unexpected. With older children, have them help in planning the activities. When children feel that they have some control, they are more apt to go along. For those children who have a great deal of difficulty with changes in routines, try to maintain as much as the routine as the situation allows. Following some routines such as the bedtime schedule can make a big difference in reducing stress for everyone. photo credit:skeytag200
PREPARE 2 of 5Tell kids in advance about the changes in their schedules and routines. Give them details about what to expect and what is expected. For example, "We are having our cousins come over. I need you to share your toys with cousin Doug. When you do a good job sharing your toys, you can pick out something from the prize box," or "we can bake cookies," or "play a favorite game. photo credit: contrarymary
PRACTICE 3 of 5You can set up situations that may come up and ask your child to role-play with you that behavior. "Let's practice how you will use your " whispering voice" when we are at the movies, " and then practice talking in a whisper. You can break down any situation into the expected behaviors and practice them in advance. Practicing together can be fun. photo credit: calmenda
PRAISE 4 of 5When you see your child exhibiting the appropriate behavior, praise him/her immediately! "Thanks for being such a good sharer." "You did a great job putting away your toys, you need a big hug." "Let's call grandma and tell her what a good listener you are." Praise the behavior, as this reinforces the chances of that behavior occurring again and helps build self-esteem. photo credit calmenda
PREVENT 5 of 5Prevent a meltdown by planning in advance for "cooling off /cooling down" activities. Try to prevent overload by interjecting quiet times when your child can calm down and relax. For example, let your small child sit on your lap while you read to him. Let your child play alone in a quiet location, or watch a movie, or play a board game. Some children need a place to move around and exercise. Playing catch or a movement game, or a walk or bike ride may help to get their "sillies" out. Always bring your child's "toolbox," filled with those go to activities that they can enjoy and play alone or with others. photo credit blackroughy