How can we create calm in the midst of holiday chaos?
Calm Dad Says: This holiday season, practice self-care. Before throwing yourself into the myriad demands and expectations of the season, take time to settle yourself. When you are calm, you spread that to your family. Otherwise, you’ll feel frazzled and snap at those you love. Think simplicity. Make a list of what’s most meaningful and important. Say no to that which is extraneous. Your job is not to make everyone happy. You are not responsible for creating “the perfect Christmas.” When you focus on controlling yourself and creating calm inside, instead of trying to make everyone else happy, you will spread holiday cheer.
Calm Kid Says: When I am around lots of relatives, it feels suffocating and gets really loud. I get lost in it all and get overwhelmed. So give your kids downtime and a place where they can be by themselves once in a while. Don’t worry about them being anti-social—we just need a break sometimes away from everyone else.
How do I stay calm when relatives judge me and my kids?
Calm Dad Says: Instead of being defensive, let’s be proactive and point out all the advantages our kids have. Your sister says, “Wow, she’s quite a handful” which is her way of saying your daughter is hyper and out of control. You reply, “You know what I love about Sarah? She has so much energy and she’s so creative. You can’t believe the play she wrote last week and performed in front of her class. I really feel sorry for the kids who just wait to be told what to do, because Sarah is going to run circles around them in the job market one day!”
The grumpy grandpa smirks, “Does he have a hearing problem because he doesn’t listen?” Your reply? “You know what I love about Jacob? He has initiative, creative ideas and he’s a problem-solver. He’s not going to be some follower in life. Nope, he’s going to be a leader and that’s going to make him really successful.”
Calm Kid Says: I used to feel like such a bad kid compared to my “perfect” cousins. But when my parents started bragging about all my good qualities around family, I started to believe that maybe I did have a great future ahead of me. It felt good to hear my parents believing in me even when others were being negative.
What do kids really want for gifts?
Calm Dad Says: Don’t buy gifts out of guilt or because you think it will make them happy. Otherwise, we’re sending the wrong message and getting kids to equate happiness with presents. But you know thirty minutes after unwrapping the last gift, some kids feel disappointed and bored. Set very clear expectations about the kinds of presents they will and will not get. Focus on giving gifts that help cultivate your child’s natural strengths and passions. Your kids have huge hearts, so spend time serving the needy, buying and wrapping presents for Toys for Tots, and giving to others. That’s where real satisfaction comes.
Calm Kid Says: I think a lot of kids like me aren’t really into stuff; we really prefer experiences. I love doing things with my Dad and Mom, going places and experiencing different activities. Some of my favorite presents were gift certificates or gift cards for things like a ride in a sports car, special dinner with a parent, an hour of free game time, get out of a chore for a day, get out of school for a play day. I loved this time with my parents more than any gift.
Celebrate Calm Founder Kirk Martin and his son, Casey (17), have trained over 100,000 parents, teachers and kids how to control their emotions through their newsletter, radio show and workshops. Sign up for their newsletter, say hi and learn more about their family-friendly programs at www.CelebrateCalm.com.