Happy New Year Kidictive Families!
Updated: Jul 11, 2018
Yup, it is January 17th and most New Year’s greetings and resolutions are already fading to a warm memory. But, if your household is anything like ours, this year seemed to arrive in chaos (is there a proverb about that?).
With our kids not going back into school until January 8th, it seemed like we started the year late. Across the board, kids are cranky. Adjusting from ‘holiday’ bedtimes, landing straight back into a slew of activities and then the constant barrage of snow (and snowpants, and hats and lost mitts) has seemed to wear down everyone’s patience.
Okay - deep breath. Okay, maybe two. This morning I vowed to relax. Allow an extra minute for my kids to engage. Help them out a little more than they probably need but desperately want because, like us, they are tired. When things seem to get overwhelming, try one or more of these ways to reduce stress for yourself and the kids:
Simplify your schedule. Say ‘no’ and even retract some commitments if you have to. Often, you don’t realize how much you and your kids are committed to until it feels overwhelming. But, if you are going to retract a commitment, do it early so you don’t leave others in the lurch and be open and honest on why.
Declutter. One of the leading causes of stress and anxiety is clutter (Learn more at webmd.com) and no only does it affect you, it affects your children too. Start small, maybe it is clearing a table for the kids to play at or have a cleaning party in your kids room.
IDEA: De-stuffy! When I think stuffed animals (or toys, books, etc.) are getting out of hand, I put all the ones they don’t play with in a pile. I then allow them to pick one or two of them to keep so they feel like they have a choice and then we donate the rest (so that kids that are not as fortunate as us can have toys - positive reinforcement for my kids!). Everyone ends up feeling good and there is less stuff to clean up in the future!
Create a stress free dinner night. Find one recipe that you can make ahead or eat two nights in a row. Then, you can come home to at least one meal a week that you don’t even think about. Mine is lasagna. I can make a double batch, cook both and then portion the second one into serving sized pieces that can be reheated in the microwave. Instant dinner!
Give yourself a break. Life is busy - let some of the pressure go. We are right there with you with piles of laundry (sometimes even clean and folded, just can’t get it put away), unanswered emails and frustrated kids. It’s okay. Breath, let it go and deal with it tomorrow...
And last, but most importantly, take 20. Take 20 minutes to be present and just do something silly with the kids. Life and work will still be there in 20 short minutes and dinner can wait. Focus 100% on your children for this short period of intensive quality time. Have a pillow fight, draw a picture, tell a story, play a game or go play in the snow! Turn all devices off for 20 minutes (yes, including yours) and laugh, look at your kids in the eyes, enjoy the moment. If you are having fun - keep going. Then order in pizza!