Are you worried about Christmas?

Is it a difficult time of year?

I know this time of year is hard for many parents. Everything changes and goes a little mad which can be hard to manage.

Our children can get overexcited and or very anxious which causes its own problems

I say this a lot but self-care is very important at this time of year. I’m working really hard at making sure I do enough of it. I know it’s busy but please do remember yourself and put in some time to top up your own tank.

If your children are anxious, have low self-esteem, sensory issues or struggle in social situations it’s a tough time of year.

And, with the recent years of enforced Covid social restrictions behind us, it seems like many are planning on being out and about this year. But you don’t have to be. If you found a low-key Christmas worked for you and you had the best time, then why not do that again this year?  I know it can be hard saying no to family, but if you have a better time I think it’s worth it.

I thought I’d share my top tips for helping you create a calmer, more relaxed 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.

Tips to help make Christmas calmer

  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 or you could follow the 4 present idea – 1 thing they will wear, 1 thing they can read, 1 thing they need, 1 thing they want.
  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 can release any built up energy.  I love going for a walk on Christmas day – great way to burn off energy and the excess food (or create space for more?).
  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 need 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.

Getting support

If you’d like help from me to move forwards, come and join us in the Hub. It’s where I teach everything from helping with your mindset, to understanding anger and managing meltdowns, to sensory support, to parenting teenagers and lots more.

You also have me available to support you anytime in our Facebook group just for hub members and each month we have other experts on a live Q & A session.

Sarah P Fisher Coaching Parents & Carers

Through my training and support in The Connective Parenting Hub, I can help you discover the Connective Parenting NVR approach and we can work together, in our community of other parents who “get it”, to help create a calmer Christmas and beyond in your home.

If you’re a professional who works with children and families, click here for more helpful resources and support.