1. Set boundaries- and I don’t mean for the kiddos. This time of year comes marinated in expectation and familial guilt. If the thought of squeezing yet another holiday play, parade, or other social expectation into your family calendar is leaving you feeling overwhelmed remember that it’s okay to say no.
2. Shop online. Does anyone really want to tote their small child to an overcrowded mall? No. Why is that even still a thing in the glorious era of Amazon? If hunting for holiday discounts in the urban jungle thrills you, no one will judge you for hiring a sitter.
3. Pack snacks. It doesn’t matter if the event you’re going to is providing food-at some point your toddler is going to deem it too squishy, or fragrant, or “spicy. Or, Heaven forbid, the food touches another food. Pack enough snacks for your kid to survive at least twice the amount of time you will be out of the house. Hell hath no fury like a hungry child.
4. Don’t force affections. Just because your great aunt Carla wants a hug doesn’t mean your child is required to give her one. Body autonomy is crucial every day; but it is especially important to maintain personal boundaries in otherwise chaotic times. Helping your child feel like they have some control over their interactions will help them feel secure.
5. Create a quiet space with calming activities. Whether it is the spare bedroom when you go to grandma’s, or a kiddie tent in the back corner of the living room, having a space your kiddo can go to recharge can be a life saver. Remember, just because an event is “fun” doesn’t mean it isn’t also overwhelming.
How are you simplifying your holiday this year?