Helpful hints for the holidays
Make a holiday plan with your children. Gather the family and discuss all the upcoming school, church, community and other holiday activities. Talk about what events mean the most to each family member. Schedule in the most important and cut back on the ones that will cause stress in terms of money, time, transportation and energy. Let your kids be a part of the process. If something has to be missed, they are more likely to understand why.
Relax with your family. Set aside “family time.” Enjoy the season in a simple way. Go for a walk or drive and look at holiday decorations. Read a holiday classic or watch a holiday movie together. Spend time making holiday crafts that you and your children will all have fun creating.
Learn to say "no". Set limits. Say “yes” to activities that matter but decline those that put you over the top. Remember, you do not have to attend every party, volunteer at every function, and buy your kids every toy they want. Do what is important and realistic for you and your family.
Be open to change. Keep in mind that life requires flexibility. Be prepared to change plans if something comes up. Be prepared for something new that may arise and that your family may want to do. The holiday season is about making memories for you and your children, whether by celebrating a tradition or creating a new one.
Give back to others. Include in your family plan an activity that gives back to others and involves your children. As a family, donate holiday gifts, visit a nursing home, serve meals at a food bank, or join an event sponsored by your church, community center, place of work, or local family organization.
Remember you're not alone. Being a parent is tough. When you feel overwhelmed, it’s important to remember that you are not alone. Talking to someone can make you feel better. Parents Helping Parents offers a Parent Stress Line that you can call toll-free in Massachusetts at (800) 632-8188. Joining a parenting group for support will also help.
Check out our list the CTF-funded Family Centers across the state of Massachusetts.