The arrival of the holiday season and school breaks usually means that your family will be spending a lot more time together. While family togetherness is important and enjoyable during the holiday season, it can become stressful, especially if children experience “cabin fever” and lash out at their siblings, parents or extended family. Minimizing the chaos and keeping the peace at this time of year will require a bit of creativity, but it is possible.

Talk Together

Sharing time, space and feelings is important during the holiday season. Should conflict arise, it is important for parents and children to clearly communicate their feelings and reach an agreement. For example, if the kids are arguing over video game time, parents should clearly communicate the rules and boundaries for sharing. Talking through the conflict should lessen it.  Communicating during the holiday season doesn’t have to occur only when settling arguments. Learn from each other! If the family is just hanging out, watching TV or complaining about boredom, take part in a “conversation” activity. Create superlatives for each family member. For example, if one person in the family is especially good at keeping a clean room, he or she could be given the “most organized” title. If one child always finishes Kumon worksheets first, he or she could be given the “fastest worker” title. You’ll have fun determining who is “most likely to finish his or her broccoli” or “best joke teller,” and you may learn a thing or two about your children. 

Work Together

There are plenty of tasks and engagements to keep adults occupied during the holiday season, but your children may get a bit lackadaisical. Keep children busy by getting them to help with the holiday preparations. Avoiding boredom is essential to keeping the peace.  Find tasks that are fun to complete as a family. From making chocolate chip cookies for the neighbors to decorating the house, there are many ways to get the kids involved in holiday tasks, and you’ll have more fun getting ready for the holidays as a family!  Have your children make snowflakes out of napkins, paper or tissues, and hang them in the windows. Help your older children plan and make dinner one evening. Let them get creative with themes, and guide them toward healthy decisions. For instance, give them a list of possible healthy ingredients to help them experiment and create a meal.

Play Together

A major part of a child’s winter break is stopping work for a while and enjoying some play time. Though they may be drawn to video and computer games that they can play alone, be sure to engage your children in some group play time. Dust off your favorite board game from your childhood and share it with your children.  You can also get crafty with your indoor games. Have a snowman competition by dividing the family into teams, having each wrap up a team member in toilet paper and decorating him or her like a snowman. For other indoor game ideas like the snowman competition, look online or just make it up! Click herefor a site to get your creative juices flowing. Sometimes, games and activities you make up as a family will be more memorable than any store-bought item.  

We hope these ideas help you keep the peace during the holiday season or at least inspire other activities to help you do so. Whatever you do during the holidays, may they be peaceful, loving and, above all, relaxing.



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