Parenting During the Holidays

Being a good parent is a tough job which can be made even more difficult during the upcoming holidays.  Now, imagine how difficult it is for the classroom teacher to have a room full of kids who are all anxious for the holidays and excited for the winter break to arrive.  The kids are over-anxious, overstimulated, and forgetful because of all the excitement.  It may seem as if everything you taught them has gone out the window—all of the home policies and procedures, as well as the school conventions that they once knew.  We can help kids during this time by doing just three things to help them stay focused.

First, help them remember routines and policies for establishing order at home and school.  Kids will forget about all of the changes going on during December.  They have special programs at school, decorating at school and home, changes in their schedule, and other commitments such as sports and music.  It is essential to review “how we are doing things” again and reestablish those commitments.  Teachers, too, need help with the kids during this time.

The month of December is an excellent time to volunteer to help your child’s teacher in the classroom.   By being available to help kids with simple questions, routines, and buttoning their coats, you will be of great help to the school and school.

Second, remind kids of the social skills that they have learned.  You can teach a social skill, such as recognizing and honoring all of the various holidays’ celebrations from students’ differing backgrounds.  It becomes more difficult for them to remember basic skills with all of the environment’s changes and schedules.  As adults, we often neglect to praise our kids when they do a good job or remember something that we taught them.  It is always good to support them but to not overdo it.

Offering too much praise becomes phony or expected.  I like to compliment them when they do an excellent job listening to an adult.  You can tell them a great job of listening and making eye contact until they finish speaking.

Third, use those mistakes to make them into teachable moments.  We all mess up, including us adults, so don’t forget to patiently process something with kids and help them understand how they can do better.  Do this without judgment ensuring that they know that you are still supporting them and that making mistakes is a part of the life process.  I like to do this by telling the child what they did wrong and then teaching him how to make a better choice.

It is most difficult than when angry or upset.  When you teach your child these life skills, you may find that you remind yourself to work on them as well.  If so, tell them, “I don’t always do this very well either, but I’m working on it.”

You may not be aware but there are Five Phases of Parenting, read this helpful tip here, Five Phases of Parenting – Dr. Rich Patterson (

For my faith-based friends, like myself, here is a link to phases of parenting, The 4 Stages of Parenting –

Let’s hope that you have found that things went very smoothly by the end of the holiday break.  Remember Help, Remind, & Teach when those behaviors get challenging with kids.

Yours for better parenting,