With Christmas approaching, parents may feel easily overwhelmed. However, they shouldn’t take their stress out on their children.
By Kevin Hewston
Parents have a duty to love and protect their children first and foremost. And they should never forget that duty. But it may be neglected during the holidays. All of a sudden, they have travel plans to make and shopping to do. Oh, and don’t forget to make time to decorate the house and put up a tree!
It’s easy for parents to get overwhelmed by their to-do lists, but children should not have to bear the brunt. An article published Wednesday in The San Marcos Daily Record reports that over 65,000 children are abused or neglected each year in Texas. That statistic is a reflection of what’s happening all around the country. It is also especially poignant for the holidays, explaining what could happen when parents take them too far.
SlavaVolman, a child educator and daycare owner, shares tips on how to keep your sanity this holiday.
Focus on what’s really important. The holidays are a prime time to do that. Put the commercialism aside for the true meaning of Christmas. It’s not about getting or buying, but about giving. As Linus reminded us in A Charlie Brown Christmas, Christmas is about “peace” and “goodwill toward men.”
Knowing this, parents should put their children first and share the joy of the holiday season with them. After all, Christmas is and should be about children anyway.
Don’t feed into your child’s stress. Children can sensewhen their parents are angry or worried. Interpreting parents’ moods, they feel like it’s their fault. Anytime a parent feels stressed around a child, they should talk about it with them. Likewise, when a child screams about a toy they want right at that moment, think of better ways to respond that are understandable to them.
A child’s comments of, “I want it now!” or “It’s not fair!” are to be expected. Firmly—but not harshly—give them a logical reason why you can’t get them a toy they see on TV or why they can’t stay up waiting for Santa. Be respectful of their feelings, and be patient. Try to get them to express themselves better, encourage a dialogue, and deflect to another activity when necessary.
These tips will make the holidays go better for you and your children, confirms SlavaVolman. The holidays are stressful enough—don’t make the mistake of having your kids pay for it. In the long run, the above suggestions will make you a better parent your kids can look up to and respect. And any good parent knows they need to lead, not by force, but by example.
About: SlavaVolman is the owner and founder of Shooting Stars Daycare. His love of children comes from his days teaching kindergarten and providing after-school activities to elementary school students.