By Robert Helfst
Holiday overwhelm is real, not only for parents but for our little Ninjas too. A fun holiday schedule can quickly go from a good time to a hellacious meltdown. While no one can completely avoid the threat of holiday overwhelm, there are a few ways to keep it from getting too out of hand.
Stick to the routine (with a little give)
One of the easiest ways to keep your Ninjas grounded over the holiday season is by sticking with your normal routine (for the most part). This provides a great sense of security and expectations to follow. Keeping to simple things like bedtimes at reasonable hours or common chores (making beds or picking up play areas) that are standard during non-holiday times are super simple and can help everything run smoothly. Of course, things will pop up, so be flexible and prepare your Ninja – It’s okay to let some things slide, but when the whole routine goes out the window, it’s entirely too easy to lose control.
Have a plan, and let them in on it
Even when you try to stick with the routine things will pop up, especially around the holidays. No matter how hectic your holiday schedule is, have a plan. Not only that, but let your Ninja in on it. By giving them some agency in what is happening throughout the day you’re showing them that what they want is taken into account (not always followed, but considered. This gives them a stake in keeping everything running like a well-oiled machine. Cold weather comes with snow, illness, and hiccups in plans so keep in mind that everything can’t be set in stone.
Lead by example and stay calm
It is just as easy for us adults to lose our cool during the long, cold, crazy months. Give your Ninja the example that even when things are ultra crazy, you can still keep your cool and not completely lose your mind. Be sure while providing stability for your Ninjas during the holidays you also take care of yourself. Enjoy some “you” time, even if it’s only 10 quiet minutes each day. Always remember (and help your Ninja remember), all of the craziness during the holiday season is temporary and it’ll eventually get back to normal.
Make time to be active
It gets harder and harder to stay active during the cold months. Sitting in the car for long drives, being stuck inside, and Ninjas having to be still in a relative’s house where there are far too many breakables leads to a lot of pent up energy. Here are a few ideas for keeping active:
- Get out and play in the snow! Teach the Ninjas how to build a snowman, an igloo, or have an all-out snowball fight!
- Go sledding!
- Take advantage of any weather that doesn’t make it dangerous to be outdoors.
- Check out a new activity together like a ninja gym when it’s too cold for playing outside.
Keep your boundaries and don’t be afraid to say no.
It can be to your Ninja, to a relative who is requesting a visit you just can’t make happen, or a reminder to yourself. It’s really easy to just agree with everything during the holiday season, but this can lead to some serious overwhelm. Keep your schedule as light as you need it to be and keep your boundaries – this will help your Ninja stay grounded and not completely buried by the holiday season.
There are so many ways kids get overwhelmed during the holidays, but there are just as many ways that you can help keep them grounded. And even if overwhelm does happen, don’t worry too much – everything goes back to normal in the end.