This is my mother-n-law with my 3 kids. My kids only get to see grandma about once a year (since we live in Israel and she lives in Seattle) -so whenever she comes there is a ton of excitement (and a ton of presents)!
Since we have time together so infrequently, concerns and questions can come up. What if someone gets sick and misses out on quality time with grandma? What if it takes 5 days for her to get through her jet lag? Or, most recently, what if one of my children are going through a particular rough stage while she is here?
Just 3 weeks ago, my middle son- who has a history of challenging emotional periods- was in one of the most challenging stages I have seen with him yet. He had frequent meltdowns, outbursts lasting over 2 hours, crying, screaming, throwing, kicking- as a family, we had to really rally to help him get through this tough period and I was concerned that my mother-n-law would come right in the thick of it.
Thank god,his new bio- medical regimen (including acupuncture, omega, bach remedies and cranial sacral) has really helped him turned a corner.
But I thought of you and the question many of you have during the holiday season- how will my family respond to my child? How will my child respond to my family? How do I make the holidays less stressful for everyone? So, here are….
4 Key Strategies for Making the Holiday Gatherings Less Stressful for You and Your Child.
1. Prioritize your child. What I mean by this is that there are times when you might (and I am guilty of this too!) prioritize getting approval from your family or friends and push your child a bit too far, pressure him to wear a shirt he won’t feel comfortable in or even try to get him to show off his most recent tricks. Let the idea of prioritizing your child lead you into the holiday season. If he wants to wear the same blue shirt he always does or refuses to let you brush his hair- make a decision to let this go. Prioritize making the holidays as easy as possible for you and your child by letting him be who he is in the most comfortable way possible.
2. Keep the large gatherings to a minimum. Do your best to have holiday celebrations with your most intimate family and friends- the people who know your child best and have a context and understanding of his challenges or unique interests. Save any bigger gatherings for an evening when you can get your babysitter to watch your children so you can go out more freely.
3. Prepare yourself for ‘comparisons’. During the holiday gatherings you might have the opportunity, more than others, to see your child compared to other children/cousins his age. This might dramatize the gap between where your child is developmentally and where other children his/her age are. Before you go to a gathering, remind yourself that your child has challenges and that he WILL be different than other kids you see there. Remind yourself of the incredible changes your child has made in the last year (be specific here- changes that might seem small for other children are huge feats for yours). Delight in who your child is, appreciate his growth, abilities and unique self and let that be your anchor. See your child for the gift he or she truly is.
4. Stay true to the diet. If your child is on a special diet, do your best to keep him on this diet, even though you will be at family gatherings with all kinds of cakes, cookies, etc. Make sure you give yourself time to prepare special desserts for your child to bring along and make sure he is well fed even before you go to a family gathering so it will be easier for him not to eat foods that he cannot. This way, you avoid hyperactivity, an increase in meltdown/tantrums or stomach upset due to your child eating foods that do not work for his body.
If you are looking for customized guidance to help you navigate through your life, including sleep/diet/family gatherings and outings, click here to book a FREE strategy session with me so we can discuss what you want help with most and how I can help you get there (plus take advantage of a 10% holiday discount and save $200-$700 for anyone who books a private coaching package with me before midnight Jan.1)
But wait! Don’t go yet- take a moment to post a comment or question you have from this article. I would love to hear from you and help you in the most targeted way possible. Simply post below 🙂