How to Keep Your Cool When the Kids are Home for the Holiday Break
I have a love-hate relationship with holiday breaks. I’m not getting a break from work, but it’s so much harder to get things done when my daughter’s out of school.
I want to go to the playground just as much as she does, and the incessant requests for snacks and drinks make it difficult to hold on to a single train of thought at all. A week of early dismissals and then two weeks off can seem like forever, even if you’re enjoying every minute of the extra family time.
Here’s a list of things I plan to do to keep my cool when she’s out for the holiday break:
- Go to the library to stock up on books and movies. She can’t read everything by herself yet, but a stack of books will remind me to slow down every now and then, cuddle up with her, and read a story or four. The movies will be new to her, so if I have a project that takes a decent amount of concentration or a deadline’s coming up, I can turn one on and hopefully enjoy an hour or two of quiet. Be sure to grab some holiday classics to watch together in the evenings with hot chocolate and popcorn.
- Pick a day or two, based on the weather forecast, to go ahead and wear her out at the park (indoor or outdoor) early in the day so she’ll be more apt to take a nap in the afternoon. I can power nap for 20 minutes to her longish one and get recharged, then work some more.
- Suck it up and wake up early, even though she gets to sleep in. I might sleep in a little just to say I got to, but I’d much rather get certain things out of the way—like that cup of coffee with some solitude while going through my email–before the day gets crazy. Working out before she gets up would be nice, too.
- Bake, of course, and let her help. I plan to make a few batches of cookies, maybe jars of trail mix for friends, and other delicious treats. It’s something that needs to happen, and since she can participate, we’re not wasting the break by not spending any time together.
- The Matchbox Advent Calendar from Martha Stewart is a cute idea. It won’t take up a lot of the day, but something to look forward to each day may keep kids from waking up grumpy and making the day harder than it has to be.
- Gather up construction paper, cotton balls, Styrofoam, paint, and more to make some of the simple kid-friendly crafts at All Kids Network.
- Make pinecone Christmas tree ornaments, like the ones at Enchanted Learning.
- Moving her cup, utensils, and healthy snacks to places she can reach instead of in the higher cabinets. She can get her own water or grab a juice box, put her own pre-washed fruits and vegetables into a bowl she can reach, and so on, and we’ll both be happier.
Novelty seems to go a long way at my house. Is it that way at yours? A few new books, a new movie, a new craft (no matter how simple) will keep my daughter happy and more likely to entertain herself when I need to get some work done.
Without interruptions every five minutes, the work day can be shorter and there will be more time for games, walks, and other holiday fun in the afternoons and early evenings. Plus there’s built-in mommy-daughter time with the crafts, cooking, outings, and some of the books and movies.
Photo credit: rumolay