We don’t think anyone would argue the fact that 2020 has thrown a lot of curveballs our way. From a global pandemic to a contentious presidential race, there is a lot going on in the world that feels unsettling to adults and children alike. No amount of parenting tips will enable us to control the world outside of our homes, but we can control the world inside our homes. It’s a responsibility and a privilege as parents to set the tone for our families and our homes.
Here are some practical parenting tips that you can begin implementing today to help create a peaceful environment within your household.
Slow Down Your Pace
Our lives are busy enough keeping up with work, family, friendships, and our homes. Add to that kid’s activities, online education, and the hustle and bustle of the holidays, and our lives can feel overwhelming. The simplest of all parenting tips is to establish some boundaries when it comes to the way your family delegates its time. Sit down and make a list of the holiday events you’d like to participate in including parties, church and community events, and family gatherings, and then start saying no to things. When you slow down the rush of the holiday season you’ll find yourself with more time to create fun family memories.
Make Your Normal Life Fun
The beloved Christmas song refers to this as the most wonderful time of the year for a reason! It’s easy to get laser-focused on tasks like decorating your home, making dinners, and buying gifts. But, those tasks can also increase your family’s stress level. If you want to have a peaceful family environment, try to make your necessary tasks fun for everyone. When you’re decorating your home, hand over the art supplies to your kids and assign them the responsibility of making decorations out of paper, string, or any other craft supplies you have hanging around the house. And when it comes to buying gifts, perhaps you consider organizing a Secret Santa or White Elephant gift exchange. Parenting tips like these reduce the stress of holiday shopping and allow you the freedom to focus on the joy of giving rather than the stress of spending. Last but not least, of course, invite your children to be part of your meal preparation. Even if they’re not old enough for chopping or stirring, there are plenty of other tasks that can be shared with them to make the experience of creating holiday meals a joyful one. You don't have to leave these parenting tips behind when the holidays are over. Fun can easily be an integral part of your day.
Make Gratitude A Goal
Research shows that engaging in a regular gratitude practice can rewire your brain. People who spend their time in intentional gratitude experience fewer symptoms of depression and report feeling happier overall. In a holiday season that is often overtaken by consumerism, centering your family around gratitude rather than greed is a revolutionary approach in a world that is trying so hard to push you in the opposite direction. One of the effective parenting tips for keeping gratitude at the center of your holiday is to start each day or each meal having each member of the family share something they're grateful for. It can be anything, even if it sounds silly to you. The transformational effect of gratitude practice comes from the act, not the details. Another way to express gratitude during the holiday is by sending thank you cards, this could be a fun way to mix gratitude practice with arts and crafts. These gratitude parenting tips are valuable even after the holiday season is over. Start the habit now and you’ll see the long term benefits down the line.
Turn Off The Technology
Want some really effective parenting tips for creating joy in your home this holiday season? Put your phone down, turn off the television, stop the video games, and spend some quality time together. Humans are notoriously bad at multitasking. When you spend hours scrolling the news or social media on your cell phone your children notice. Extended exposure to technology can have negative effects on the mental and emotional health of all of the members of your family. Plus, the time you spend on your personal devices is time you’re not spending engaging with one another. This year, gift your family some fun board games or other family activities that will bring you together physically and in spirit.
After the unprecedented year that we’ve had, you and the people you love deserve to have the most joyful holiday season you can have. Even as the world around us is rife with conflict, with some intentionality, your household can be a bastion of peace for your family. These parenting tips are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to creating a joyful household. Take some time to think about the things that are keeping your family from experiencing holiday joy and then work together to find creative solutions. For more parenting tips, or if you’re interested in learning more about St. Barnabas School, contact us today.