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 who has a room full of kids 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 at school.  Kids will forget with all of the changes going on during the month of December.  They have special programs at school, decorating at school and home, and changes in their schedule along with other commitments such as sports and music.  It is important to review “how we doing things” once again and reestablish those commitments.  Teachers too need help with the kids during this time.  This is a good 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 coat, you will be of great help to the classroom 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 the differing backgrounds of students.  It becomes more difficult for them to remember basic skills with all of the changes in the environment and with schedules.  As adults, we often neglect to give praise to 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 a good job of listening to an adult.  You can tell them, great job of listening and making eye contact until someone is done 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 to understand how they can do better.  Do this without judgment ensuring that they understand that you are still supporting them and that making mistakes is a part of the life process.  I like to do this by starting with telling the child what they did wrong and then teach him how to make a better choice.  This may be never more difficult than when angry or upset.  You may find that when you teach your child these life skills 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.”

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

Yours for better parenting,

Rich