Calmer Christmas? Christmas is that time of year when everyone goes a little mad in my opinion. Well I say everyone, obviously that’s an over statement, but I do think this need to spend ridiculous amounts on our kids is a little crazy. For many, Christmas is a hard enough time of year anyway without all the additional pressure to make it ‘perfect’.
For children with any trauma in their lives Christmas is a hard time of year. If they are anxious, have low self esteem, sensory issues, or struggle in social situations it’s a tough time of year. The expectation we will join in with all the parties and school events can be too much in itself, let alone the fact that it’s supposed to be a magical time of year that we should all love.
Before my son moved in I didn’t really do Christmas, it was very low key and I often went away. I’ve kept the low key thing going and it’s definitely helped.
I thought I’d share my top tips for helping you create a calmer Christmas. As with everything these are generic tips that won’t work for everyone, but hopefully they will help and you’ll be able to adapt them to suit your family.
1) Keep it low key – you don’t need to do a big Christmas and have the whole family round. Keep it small, or go to someone else’s so you can leave / go for a walk, before it gets too much for your children.
2) Don’t go over the top with presents – children want our presence, not lots of presents.
3) On Christmas day 1 medium / large present and a few small ones is all they need.
4) Sometimes it helps to spread out the presents – one idea is to give your children one small present for a few days leading up to Christmas.
5) If your child struggles with surprises, tell them what their main present is, or what some of the smaller presents are. This significantly reduces anxiety and makes it easier on the day.
6) Think about how Father Christmas will work. The thought of a strange man coming into the house in the night can be scary, so you may need to think about how to approach it. Also, try and avoid the naughty / nice idea that comes with Father Christmas. Reassure your child he comes to everyone.
7) Have a schedule for Christmas day so they know what is happening and when. It doesn’t need to be minute by minute but it’s reassuring for them to know what’s happening.
8) Have sensory breaks throughout the day so that your children are able to release any built up energy. I love going for a walk on Christmas day – great way to burn off the excess food and some energy.
9) Talk to school and find out what they are planning. When they say, ‘things will remain the same’ it won’t – especially in primary school. Ask them to tell you what is happening and when so you can support your child.
10) Christmas Day doesn’t have to be celebrated on Christmas Day. Lots of families I know have Christmas dinner on Christmas Eve. It spreads it out, takes away the stress of cooking on the day and you can chill out. Who says you can’t have a PJ day and eat finger food?
I hope these tips help you to have a calmer Christmas. For more ideas come and join us in my Facebook group where I’m sharing tips and lots of other parents are to. Www.facebook.com/groups/connectiveparentungusingnvr
We’ll be talking a lot about how to create a calmer Christmas among other useful topics.