Many people look forward to Thanksgiving and Christmas, not only for the delicious meals that are prepared but the togetherness that it brings for families.
Most of us love to come together during this time of year but it can also cause A LOT of stress.
Unfortunately, some need a little help surviving the tantrums and situations that sometimes come along with the holidays.
You may think I am just talking about the children’s tantrums but depending on the family, there may be some adults having tantrums as well.
Read on to find out how to cope:
Holiday Survival Guide: How to Survive the Chaos
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One of the best things about having a survival guide is that you can plan ahead. Have all the details ready including the seating when it’s time to eat, maybe make a seating arrangement just in case. Have guest rooms set up in case you have a guest stay overnight or even a place to let the little one’s nap.
Determine your ground rules before the day of your gathering. This could be topics that could lead to heated discussions, politics or even sports. We all know there are some families who have that sports rivalry. To make things less stressful for you, ask your guests to bring a dish. Some can bring foods, drinks, desserts, and even disposable plates, forks, napkins, cups, knives, spoons, etc. that help you with the cleanup time after everyone has finished eating.
Have plenty of finger foods, fruits and veggies available while the meal is being prepared or everything is being set up. This will help keep the kids and even the adults out from under your feet. If you have children of different ages have plenty of activities for them. Whether it is playing games outside like tag, hide and go seek, football, or inside activities like watching another TV in a quiet room, playing games, or coloring. If there is an older child (tween/teen) to help watch over the little ones is a great idea, so that you can play host and get everything in the kitchen ready.
Every family has people who don’t get along, children who misbehave or something that may go wrong. Try to remember the reason you are gathered and that you had the opportunity to spend time with your family no matter the circumstances and then you can recuperate until the next holiday.
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Christmas is not just about showering your kids with presents and buying ornaments and lights – it’s so much more than that.
Christmas is about values that every parent should teach its children – kindness, gratitude, and generosity.
That might be the reason why it’s celebrated worldwide, regardless of religious beliefs.
However, it’s not always easy to show the true magic of the holiday season to the kids, especially with the omnipresent influence of technology and the hectic lifestyle we have.
But, there are ways to make it magical for your kids and help them create lovely Christmas memories.
How to Make Christmas Magical for the Kids
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Make them believe
If your kids are still young and believe that Santa Claus is real, let them be. Even better, encourage it.
Psychologists claim it’s perfectly healthy because, although Santa Claus is not real, the values he represents are, and that’s why it makes a good lesson for the kids.
Help them hang Christmas stockings around the house and fill them with candy while they’re asleep.
Don’t forget about some cookies and milk for Santa and some carrots for his reindeer. You can even bake the cookies together, serve it on a plate et voilà – you’ve got yourself the perfect excuse to eat cookies in the middle of the night – it’s all part of the Christmas magic.
From ornaments to gift wrapping – all of it can be done yourself and what’s even better – you can include the kids in the process and have multiple benefits. Not only will the kids feel the true Christmas spirit, but they’ll also know the value of work and effort put into making all of that.
Furthermore, you’ll surely save some money as well – paper, scissors, sparkling washi tape, colorful knitting bowls, etc. are way cheaper than the ornaments, cards, and decorations you can buy at the store. Browse Pinterest for ideas and get crafty – it’s the best way to spend some quality time with your kids.
Put some Christmas colors on
There’s no fear of going overboard with glitter and shades of red and green.
After all, it’s the holiday season, so give yourself a break and decorate your house accordingly. Stunning Christmas tree and lights are mandatory but you can take it to another level and try giving your girls Christmas hairstyles or baking seasonal treats shaped like Christmas ornaments.
Also, consider decorating the kids’ room as well – a mini tree and some lights will do just fine to make their mornings festive. Play some Christmas tunes and watch the spirit of the holiday season fill your house floor-to-ceiling.
Less is more
When it comes to presents, less is really more.
Make sure you give your kids something they’ll know how to appreciate. Respect their wishes but make sure it’s practical as well – buy them something they’ll wear, read, and actually use.
If they get too many presents from the rest of the family, tell them about the less fortunate and propose donating their toys, clothes, school supplies, etc.
They can assemble the gifts themselves, wrap them, and write something on the card – it’s a great way to teach your kids to be generous and aware of the outside world.
Make a scrapbook
Scrapbooks are a great way to preserve memories so you can make a Christmas-themed one for your kids.
Take photos of the Christmas activities and encourage the kids to collect tickets from Christmas shows and concerts.
They can rewrite Christmas stories and quotes they like, or even write their own. Use the craft supplies leftovers from making the ornaments and cards and assemble a family scrapbook. All you’ll need is cardboard paper and some twine and the fun may begin.
Once they grow up, kids won’t remember the gifts you bought them but the feeling of closeness and all the fun will stay in their memories forever. Don’t hesitate – make a plan and get ready to give your children the most magical Christmas ever.
About the author: Tracey Clayton is a full-time mom of three girls. She feels she knows a thing or two about raising happy, healthy and confident kids, and offers helpful advice in her parenting articles. Her motto is: “Live the life you love, love the life you live.”
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No parent likes to think about the possibility of their child being bullied, but the reality is that it is extremely common, with an incredible 160,000 children a day avoiding school due to the fear of bullying and 33% of children reporting experiences of school bullying.
These are incredibly sad statistics.
These kids exist in a constant state of fear of physical, verbal and emotional abuse.
Not only that, but as well as bullying victims, the act always involves a perpetrator and usually witnesses, so it’s very probable that you will have to face the issue in some capacity at some point.
So let’s talk about how you can help your child.
How to Support a Bullied Child
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How Does Bullying Impact a Child?
Children that do manage to attend class often experience high levels of anxiety and depression.
Over a long period of time, this heightened level of stress can have lasting effects that can be detrimental to a child’s development and outlook on life.
If left to fester and continue, bullying can impact them for the remainder of their lives.
Chronic experiences of bullying can have a catastrophic impact on a child’s self-worth and ability to trust others.
They can also have great difficulties bonding with others and creating positive relationships and sadly are at a greater risk of substance abuse.
In light of these facts, it’s clear that as parents, caregivers, and educators we need to take a proactive approach to prevent bullying from ever occurring.
It’s not always straightforward to identify a bully, so it’s helpful to be knowledgeable of other less clear signs.
How to Identify Bullying
The best thing you can do to help is to teach your own child how to identify bullying.
Explain to them how they can identify it when they witness it and not be scared to name it.
Educate them that when another individual invokes feelings of shame, guilt or makes them scared that they need to go away from that person and realize that the individual is a bully.
Encourage them to tell you if they ever feel like themselves or anyone else is being isolated from the group.
Explain to them that there is nothing wrong with them and that if they are ever being bullied; the bully is the one with the issues.
Typically, if a child is a bully, there is something adrift in that child’s life.
Frequently, this can be due to being a former victim of bullying themselves, or maybe they come from a dysfunctional household.
Often they are quite envious of their victims and are seeking validation from peers. Sometimes they may have issues dealing with their own feelings and therefore, their actions.
Emphasize to your child how much you love them and care for them. Highlight how much influence they have over their lives and how tough they are.
Encourage them to communicate with you by communicating with them.
Zero Tolerance for Bullying
If you discover your child is being bullied, reassure them that you will handle it and then proceed.
Have a talk with your child’s teacher and if you can the bullies parents. Every adult that has a role to play should be made alert to the issue and you should all aim to cooperate in order to resolve the problem.
If the conversation doesn’t seem to resolve the issue and the bullying continues, you will need to go up the ranks and make an appointment to see the principal.
In the meantime, you can instruct your child with sensible ways to deal with the bullying.
Firstly, tell them to avoid the person as much as they can and not to antagonize the assailant in any way.
You will then have to be prepared to go to battle for them and don’t give up until the issue is fully resolved.
Letting the bully win will only lead to more suffering for your child and when they see you making a stand for them, they will find the courage to stand up for themselves too.
How to Overcome Bullying
It’s not possible to be with your child 24 hours a day, therefore, it’s essential you teach them how to overcome bullying and beat it, even when the bully is right in front of them.
A great approach is to make your child feel courageous and strong in the face of bullies and that can easily be achieved through a role-playing game.
If they know exactly how to deal with the situation before it occurs, they will be ready to deal with bullying when and wherever it happens.
Provide a range of situations where bullying could occur, including the bus, walking home and so on, via the art of role-playing games.
As the parent, you act the role of bully and instruct your child how to react in a positive way.
This can really help them verbalize and communicate better when the times comes. If your child is a little passive and shy, then don’t worry, what’s essential is that they feel cared for and supported.
Instruct them to say confidently and clearly, “No, Stop it.”
Or perhaps “I am going to tell the teacher”, emphasize that this is never wrong if people feel scared.
Highlight that their opinion matters, bullying is always wrong and adults will always put a stop to it.
Everyone Involved can Help
If you have ended up here and think your child may actually be the bully, that doesn’t mean you have failed as a parent.
In effect, since you have come to that conclusion means you can be a big player in fixing it. You have the influence to put a stop to it and fast before anyone else has to suffer.
Be aware that you need to lay down the rules for your child and the potential consequences for breaking them. This will be positive for them and the child they bully.
You can even make a huge change if your child isn’t the bully or the victim; you simply need to teach them how to recognize bullying.
Encourage them to make a stand against anyone who partakes in bullying and to always inform an adult.
In reality, children can make a huge difference, since they often hold more influence over their peers than any adult does.
If no one makes a change, who will? We need to be prepared to stand up for our children and any other child who may be a victim of bullying. Don’t just wait for someone to speak out, be prepared to speak out on your own accord.
With male teenage suicide rates on the rise, the old adage “big boys don’t cry” may need to be readdressed.
Traditionally boys are taught to be tough, not to cry, and shrug off their emotions.
However, recent studies are showing this may not be the healthiest strategy to teach boys how to handle emotion.
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While no one wants to raise what may be considered a “mama’s boy” or a “wimp”, boys need to be allowed to feel a range of emotions, and they need to be taught how to acknowledge and manage them in an appropriate way.
In light of this realization, there has been a huge push recently to teach our children, boys included, what has been coined as Emotional Intelligence.
Proven to be equally as important as academic intelligence when considering overall child development, Emotional Intelligence helps children identify and manage emotions.
This helps them understand themselves better, how to react and respond appropriately, as well as be able to understand the emotions of others.
In turn, this prepares them to be better siblings, friends, and partners. Under those pretenses, here are 5 reasons why you should let boys cry.
Prior to puberty, boys are more likely than girls to experience symptoms of depression. When they are told not to cry and stifle their urge to do so, the emotion behind that urge doesn’t simply disappear. Stifled sadness can quickly turn to anger in boys and young men and is often released in bursts of anger or defiance. They don’t understand the anger or where it stems from, and it builds until they find some way to let the anger out externally. This can lead to behavior issues at school, with peers, and at home.
When boys are taught to express their emotions and stay connected to their feelings, they learn to manage their anger in healthier, more productive ways. Instead of acting out in anger, they can learn healthy alternatives to deal with their feelings, such as talking to a parent about it, taking it out on a workout, writing it out in a journal, or expressing it playing guitar, for example.
Boys who don’t express their emotions grow into men who don’t know how to express themselves or be emotionally available. This can cause issues in marriages, in parenting, as well as in work relationships. If we teach young boys appropriate ways to deal with emotions and emotional situations, they will grow up better able to handle these circumstances as men. Marriages will be healthier, fathers will be better equipped to deal with tough issues with their children, and employees with be more productive and better team players.
As boys are taught to “man up” and hide their emotions, the coping method they learn is to become stoic, shut down, and keep their feelings to themselves. Studies have shown that this directly correlates to men being less likely to seek mental health assistance when needed, leading to higher rates of clinical depression, anxiety, and similar issues that can accelerate and worsen when left unaddressed.
Allowing your boy to cry, while telling him you understand how he feels and providing guidance on appropriate ways to handle that emotion, provides him a sense of belonging, of being understood, and of being loved for who he is. This builds self-esteem and strengthens the parent-child bond. This is not to be confused with coddling or over-protecting a child but should be considered as an excellent way to model and teach acceptable outlets for expressing emotion.
Boys feel all the same emotions girls do.
For some reason, our society has traditionally thought it was okay for girls to show these emotions while boys were expected to toughen up and hold it in.
This has lead to generations of men who don’t know how to connect emotionally in numerous aspects of their lives.
If we can allow our boys to cry while also teaching healthy ways to express and manage their emotions, we can raise a generation of men better prepared to handle stressful situations, be better partners, and live overall healthier, happier lives without sacrificing their masculinity.
Halloween is near, so the need for spooky treats has hit my family hard!
We are looking for an opportunity to mix up a bunch of ghoulish goodness to share with friends! If you too want to share something dramatically delicious this Halloween season, you are going to love this recipe for Bloody Cupcakes!
While the name might sound gruesome. You can dig in with a smile knowing they are actually a devilishly fun take on the always popular Red Velvet recipe!
Hey, I’m Toni and I’m the mama of 3 Little Birds. I love Writing about Parenting, Health, Recipes and Crafts, the life of a Mum and more. Learn more about me here Grab a Tea or Coffee and come see what you find.