Christmas holidays begin this week in the UK and while we may be looking forward to some down time, lots of us also have busy social calendars. Parties to attend, visits to family, festive events to participate in. So I thought why not put together a Mumma’s guide to surviving the Christmas holidays!
With all the excitement, change in routine and extra sugar, the holidays can cause our kids to become tired and wired. Back in the Walton house I’ve started to notice the strain of the Christmas build-up on my boys. Little sniffles and coughs, more frequent tears and a few cross words are signals that we are a bit run down already. Although we’ve had a wonderful start to the holiday season, I need to ensure over the next couple of weeks we get a good balance of rest and meaningful activity.
So, here are my top tips for helping you Mummas manage the Christmas period well with your kids:
1. Prepare your children for upcoming visits
There’s likely to be more frequent visits to and from family and friends. Children, just like us adults, like to know what is going to be happening in advance. It can be unsettling if different people are dropping in everyday, as it’s not part of their usual routine. A good idea is to have a conversation the night before over dinner, to let your kids know what lovely things they have to look forward to the next day. Or, have snuggle in the morning as they get up and let them know what the day ahead will bring. Sometimes, I write our activities on the calendar so they can visually see what’s happening ahead of time.
2. Keep to a routine where possible
It’s great to be free of the school run and strict bedtimes, but to prevent mood swings and a shock to the system when school starts again, try to have some sort of consistency to your days. I try to keep meal times the same and, where possible, avoid too many late nights in a row. We also tend to do one activity/outing in the morning and then have a chilled afternoon. It’s not always possible to stick to this, but some sort of rhythm to the day will help keep your kids content.
3. Let the holidays be about ‘being’ rather than ‘doing’
I am certainly guilty of getting excited and booking in numerous events and gatherings in the run up to Christmas, but I soon find that doing too much becomes a chore and the meaning of Christmas gets lost. And while my kids are always looking to do something, often what they really would benefit from is slowing down. So this year I have left plenty of free days in between activities so that we can potter at home and be together. Winter is a great opportunity to hibernate a little and get some early nights and lay ins. I’m sure my kids will moan at points that they are bored, but I also know this is what they need.
4. Monitor the sugar intake
It’s inevitable that our kids will be having more treats than usual and I love to indulge myself this time of year as it gets so cold and dark. Chocolate, biscuits and crisps are my go-to comfort food. BUT the affects of letting my children indulge too much is just not worth it. Three boys being hit by a sugar high and then the unavoidable crash feels like hell on earth when its happening. Not only that but they get run down physically. So, I try to find a happy balance – yes to treats in moderation and coupled with lots of healthy fruit, veg and water which is important during the winter months anyway to keep the bugs and colds at bay!
If necessary, you can talk to your friends/family before visits to let them know you are limiting sugar. Carry healthy snacks in your bag to compensate. Mine enjoy cashew nuts, oatcakes and popcorn, which all give slow-releasing energy.
5. Don’t be afraid so say ‘no’
So many activities and events pop up over Christmas, it’s very easy to take on more than we can handle and subsequently get stressed out. . What your kids want more than anything is to see you happy and have memorable experiences with you. So don’t be afraid to say no to family dropping in or to decline social invitations from friends. Our kids, (and us Mummas) need downtime, just to chill out, snuggle, and do whatever relaxes them. The key is to simplify and focus on what is meaningful – feeling the festive joy and spreading love to others!
6. Everyday, fill up your cup
I talk about this all the time because its vital for a Mumma to prioritise her own self-care. If she is feeling calm and content, this will ripple out to her children. We know that our children feed off our emotions and the very little ones look to us to regulate their own internal environment. Whenever we can, we should feel okay about giving ourselves some self-nourishment and self-love. This could be a lay in, an afternoon nap, a short walk alone or meditating.
Whatever fills you up, make sure you do it everyday over the Christmas time. Don’t just hope that you’ll find time to squeeze it in – commit to it and schedule your self-care in just like you do your social activities. I know from personal experience that if I don’t book it in my diary, then time for me won’t happen. As mums we tend to drop our own needs first when life gets busy.
So, with my top tips shared, I send you all my love for an amazing and peaceful Christmas. Do let me know some of your own tips in the comments below.