The countdown is well and truly on. School is coming to an end, end of year concerts and report cards are on their way, the kids are getting tired, the roads are getting busy, the shopping centre carparks are becoming chaotic, the juggle of work and school holidays, vacation care and sleepovers – yep… it’s nearly Christmas!
With Christmas firmly now on the horizon, this time of year can become quite stressful – or not, depending on how you look at the situation. Ask yourself – do you ‘react’ or ‘respond’ when it comes to the Silly Season?
Preparation, as we all know, is key to maintaining the balance in any situation. So preparing for the weeks ahead will enable you to stay calm and find yourself responding rather than reacting to the potential stresses that lie just around the corner. Taking time to plan the coming weeks will allow you and the entire family to have a far less stressful season and holiday.
While the kids are still at school, aim to get your Christmas shopping completed. Make use of the lay-by facilities offered by our larger stores. This not only serves as a great way to pay off your purchases without using credit (which can also be stressful), but you can leave the last payment until just before Christmas and collect your purchases then. Alternatively start shopping online. Getting the shopping done now also means experiencing fewer crowds at the shops, road rage, carpark chaos and queues.
Santa is in store early December, so plan your family Santa photo early too. This allows you to get them sent to the rellies.
One way to keep the kids busy and to help with the Christmas preparations is to start collecting pictures, stamps and stickers and allow them to create the wrapping paper for this year. This is a great family project and the kids will love being involved.
Creating a planner with the whole family is another great way to become more prepared. Knowing what has to be done and when gives clarity and certainty. Identify the times that you can have family time, friends over and playdates, vacation care days, beach days, maybe some Christmas cooking days and some quiet days. If the kids can see the plan, then they are less likely to be ‘nagging’ about seeing their friends or getting to the beach.
Of course, as parents we need some down time too – so talk to your friends about having the kids so you can have a date night, or head out for a massage. And then reciprocate for them.
My word for you for this crazy time is “PAUSE”. Stop, breathe and pause before you answer a question. Pause before you begin a task. Pause before you start the car. Pause before you agree to anything. Become mindful of your breath, of your feelings and of your intuition through pausing. Plan and pause – I promise it will make a world of difference to the weeks ahead.