Talk about stressful. The average American spends 42 hours on holiday activities ─ adding the equivalent of a full week of work on top of already busy schedules. Not surprisingly, research shows that women feel more holiday stress than men ─ and parents, in general, feel more pressure than others.
Kids react, too, when their normal routines are disrupted. With that in mind, here are a few tips from the Y to keep the Grinch at bay:
Work Without Worry
Let us take care of the kids while you take care of everything else. Your YMCA child care centers are open extended hours, 365 days per year ─ including Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s. During school breaks, we also offer special programs to keep older siblings (through age 12) busy, active and learning.
Don’t Over Schedule
Even the most well-intentioned families can only handle so many school functions, social gatherings and trips to the mall. Kids, especially, need time to unwind. Try to keep their schedules as normal as possible and make sure they plenty of unhurried time to slow down, rejuvenate and just be kids. (Think the Y)
Get Up, Get Moving
Exercise not only relieves stress, improves mental outlook and prevents holiday weight gain, it’s also a great way for families to have fun and grow stronger. At the Y, we can help you get started. With more than 20 YMCA Family Centers across Central Florida, we have a nearby neighborhood Y and FREE GUEST PASS for just for you.
More than any other time of the year, good nutritious, well-balanced meals are a way to keep the family healthy and connected. Try not to skip meals, especially before parties where you’ll be tempted to overindulge. Treats for the kids are inevitable, but try to keep them limited, as too much sugar can disrupt bedtimes and good behavior.
Have Fun. Play Games
Games are a good way to keep things light and fun, while also engaging the whole family. In addition to board games and charades, consider high-energy outdoor activities like treasure hunts, a family “hoops” contest or backyard hide-and-seek.
Demonstrate the Spirit
Kids learn by watching us. If we want them to grow up as generous and charitable, we have to show them how. For holiday gift-giving, consider “adopting” a child or family in need, serve a meal at a local shelter or give back and volunteer through the Y.