Handling the Holidays

Wishing you all a happy winter break! Check out Raising Reciprocity’s episode #7 – Handling the Holidays for tips on how to have an easeful holiday season with your little ones.

(0.03) The Holiday Season is Fully Upon Us

The Holidays are experienced and many with layers of emotions, yours and your child’s. How are you going to move through them? How do you want to feel as the last couple weeks of the year are lived?

(1.26)  Choose Your Own Path of Experiences

Remember your family values. Discuss them with your household if it would help you hold to them. Use them to guide your decision making. Avoid perfectionism and consumerism if it makes you or others grumpy.  

(1.56) How Do You Want to Feel?

Give careful thought as you decide what you want to take on or not. Imagine how you want to feel and how your feelings affect your behaviors. This practice can help focus and motivate you to manage the many stressors of the season. 

(2.28) Planning

Use a calendar. If you co-parent, share it. Block out the “must-dos” and where you’re going to be. Imagine how you’re going to feel following each activity or outing. Block in times you need/want for recharging, especially following events that you can predict will deplete your energy.

(5.05) From Your Child’s Eyes: Maintain Some Routines

Celebrations, time off of school and work, some of us welcome the shift away from routines as a break. Most children however do better when their sense of order is not fully disrupted. Reflect on your calendar of events and look to name where routines your child is used to can remain. The sleep schedule? The bedtime routine? The morning sequence to get ready for the day? Specific foods?

(8.30) Preparation

Help kids settle into new spaces and visit with people by talking in advance over some of the details of what they can expect. Provide a “Grace & Courtesy” lesson on ways to receive a gift. Provide age appropriate directions and examples. Kids want to know clearly from you. Don’t worry if moments of shyness happen in the moment. You will be modeling these behaviors and they will be taking it in. Trust. They’ll get it in time.

(10.50) Not Only Joy

Sticky feelings indeed can creep in with holiday activities. All the haves and have nots can overwhelm a person. We get messages over and over that this is the time of year to feel happiness, joyful. What happens when you’re not feeling that way, well dang, you get a layer of shame on top of it all. Have a discussion with your older kids about the complexity of feelings – they are not always either or – rather they layer or weave existing simultaneously. Review what skills and resources they have to lean on when they recognize what feelings are coming up for them. Who will they talk to about it? Where can they go to have a quiet moment for themselves? Help them plan ahead.   

(13.21) Model Self Regulation 

You too have strategies to use when sticky feelings show up. Remind yourself of them now. Look to highlight the healthy ones, not the ones that only temporarily numb you out of the moment. Could it be simplified meals? Getting outdoors? Exercise? Prioritizing your sleep schedule? How you plan blocks of activity followed by or preceded by blocks of rest? Remind yourself of who are your “go-to” people who listen supportively when you need to process feelings. Verbalize out loud, in the presence of your child(ren), think of it as if you’re sportscasting a play by play, so that your child can learn quite directly from your behaviors of caring for yourself. 

(15.47) Fostering a Spirit of Giving with Children 

Practice leaning on, actually name and discuss, your family values. Use them as a guide when you consider how you show people you care about them as you consider what types of gifts you give. Name the things you are grateful for. Discuss the inequities that exist. It’s okay if these conversations feel hard and stir up tough feelings and questions. That’s one way we build the skill of perspective taking. A skill that leads youth to real feelings of gratitude and to begin to imagine ways that they might choose to participate in making changes themselves or even in time at a systemic level. 

(16.56) Expressions of Love

How a person likes to receive expressions of love is not all the same. This season is an opportunity to begin to teach this to your child. They can begin to wonder how they like to receive and how they like to give. They can start to learn that not everyone likes the same ways they do. Long term you’ve helped them build an understanding that could support their long term relationships.

(19.20) A Strategy: Choose a Focus Word

WHile in the thick of the ups and downs of the holidays we offer the idea of a grounding word. It’s a tool that can help bring mindfulness into the days ahead. TO bring an awearness to what you’re experiencing, and to maintain a connection with yourself. This helps you feel in control of your behaviors and choices.

(20.20) Best Holiday Wishes

Our best wishes that you can welcome the parts of the holiday season that do bring a smile to your face. That you can welcome the hibernation, the reflection and the quietness that the winter season invites you into. Thanks for joining us.

Follow us on Instagram and Facebook at @raisingreciprocity.

Check out the transcript for this episode. Please know that it was produced by AI so kindly disregard any errors:)

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