Christmas has come and gone and we are well on our way to ringing in 2019! This is a great time of year to review the past year and make intentional choices as you step into 2019.
2019 provides you with 12 New Chapters and 365 New Chances. Be intentional about your preparation! Also, consider joining me for 'Hello 2019' a game changing session that guides you in beginning habits, setting intentions, writing goals and taking actionable steps to the vision you have for your personal, professional and family lives.
This morning my early bird son slept in until 6:00 am. I felt like we had hit jackpot, as it wasn’t the usual 5:00am of the last few days!
Children are bursting with excitement. School is closed, and Christmas morning is around the corner.
Christmas is a great time for families and friends to come together and celebrate. It brings much joy, love and laughter. Amidst all the happy emotions, we sometimes find a little bit of stress and anxiety sneaking in because there is just so much going on! So how can we be proactive about dealing with the stress and anxiety that might find its way into our household?
Here are my top 8 essential tips for minimizing holiday stress!
1. Create a Schedule. Having a schedule during home time for children may seem like an absurd idea to some, but it is worth putting some thought into it! Scheduling outside play time, structured and unstructured play time, tablet time, and outings can help your kids to thrive and reduce behavior problems that peak when children are home from school with a lot of time on their hands.
2. Share Holiday Plans with Children. Children like to know what’s going on too! Although we sometimes like to keep travelling and other fun Christmas activities to ourselves until closer to the scheduled time in order to reduce the questions and excitement, when children know what and when to expect it, it helps to deal with potential stress and anxiety.
3. Pack Awesome Travel Bags. Travelling with children can be exhausting…especially young children. Although a lot of effort may be put into the packing clothes for the trip, it’s important to pack great carry-ons to keep your kiddos busy. Puzzle books, favorite toys, books and magnetic activities can make long flights or travel delays manageable.
4. Don’t Abandon Bedtime. When the holidays roll around it’s natural to reduce the rigidity when it comes to bedtime. Although you may be letting your children stay up later, please do remember that they still require a good night sleep! Sleep deprivation is not pretty, and it’s signs and symptom go far beyond just having a sleepy child. Children who are sleep deprived can be more irritable, hyperactive and less rational. If we couple irritability, hyperactivity and reduced reasoning with holiday candy and excitement, it may not be a pretty scene!
5. Don’t Force Affection. During the holiday time, children often see family and friends that they may not have seen in some time. Although this may be quite exciting for you, remember that if your 5-year-old has not seen a family member in three years, chances are they may not remember them. It’s tempting to push your child to give ‘Uncle Joe’ a great big hug, or ‘Aunt Monica’ a big kiss on the cheek, but be mindful that some children may not find this comfortable. If they do not feel comfortable and are forced, it may send the wrong message to them as it relates to comfort and giving physical affection. Perhaps encourage conversation, or high fives if your child shows hints that he or she is not comfortable with physical affection.
6. Healthy Snacking Habits. There is no lack of junk food during holiday time! Holidays are a great time to enjoy fun homemade delicacies full of lots of goodness. Just remember, that its’ a good idea to ensure that there is some healthy food incorporated as well! Pack healthy snacks in your bag for travelling or leave them out for snacking options at home. Healthy eating is key to dealing with stress and anxiety.
7. Focus on Giving and Gratitude. It’s natural for children to be excited about the gifts that they will receive. As parents, we must steer the ship to ensure that we also ensure that our children understand that Christmas should involve just as much or more giving and gratitude than receiving. Go out of your way to name your blessings with them. Model gratitude. Model giving. Give together as a family.
8. Take Care of Yourselves Parents! Holidays are filled with lots of love, joy, food, and late nights! Stress can build quickly. Take a pro-active approach. Have a self-care plan for yourself that encourages you to be intentional about how you take care of your mind, body and soul throughout the holiday season. This will ensure that you can truly be present and enjoy the magic of this holiday season.
Have a blessed Christmas!
I used to write for a fabulous online publication geared towards Caribbean Woman globally. The name of this publication was COCO Magazine. I wrote an article sometime in 2014 about “Raising Confident Girls.’’ At that time I was a mom of one, a mom of one little girl, and was determined to raise her in a way that would provide her with every opportunity. I was determined to not box her into girl colors, even though she went through a very ‘pink is my favorite color’ phase. I was determined to expose her to traditional boy toys, even though she enjoyed playing with her construction toys while wearing her tiara and princess shirt.
I wrote, “For my daughter's third birthday there was a bit of a social experiment that took place in my house. She was given a music set, a princess set, and a construction set. As she keenly played with all three of her new toys, I eagerly watched to see if she gravitated more to one than the other. After a day full of new toy excitement, she enthusiastically announced that her construction set was her favorite gift. I breathed a sigh of relief. I felt like we just had a little success in our household. In a world full of pink and princesses my daughter chose her construction set. It was a proud moment. The truth is that princess usually gets played a few times a week in our household, but I am thankful that somehow my daughter does get that pulling out her tools and playing construction is just as natural as wearing her tiara and fake high heels.”
Fast-forward a few years, and now I am the mom of two boys! In an age of #MeToo, glamorous lives on social media and reality TV and violent video games, how does one raise a well rounded confident child that understands the importance of compassion, kindness and empathy? Also, even though I am from Caribbean decent, I am a very Canadian momma! Being Canadian has very much shaped who I am, and I am raising children in the Caribbean and wanting them to be able to thrive in both their home/local community and as well as abroad in the Western World.
We see lots of debates about whether we should embrace boys playing with dolls, or if pink ends up being their favorite color. We steer boys away from traditional girl toys, activities or colors in fear of it being too ‘feminine’, whereas when we are looking at the development of girls, we encourage them that the world is open to them! As a mom of two boys, this was becoming a growing concern. If my son dresses in pink and wants to play princess, he will likely be judged, whereas if my daughter wears a construction belt, she will likely be praised. This has really caused me to question my thoughts on raising boys vs. raising girls. What should I be exposing my boys to in order for them to thrive? What toys, what activities, what chatter do I want them to hear in order to be able to grow up as responsible well-balanced men?
Thankfully, they have a great role model as a father. They have someone to look up to that provides them with a road map to being a man of integrity laced with compassion and empathy. So this, paired with perhaps the exhaustion of having three young children, has caused me to relax. It has caused me to relax and focus less on choosing the right toys and books and providing them with options that help them to develop their personalities. I hope these choices will provide them with opportunities to build and create while also teach them how to be empathetic, helpful and compassionate individuals.
So this week, we broke into some Christmas presents early. I gave my boys both their very own superheroes with matching capes. As a young child my mother had to send to New York for me to be able to have a doll in my image, and I am so thankful to be able to provide my boys with superheroes of their own in their own image.
I also returned to my original article on Raising Confident Girls and found that the top 5 tips that I provided there are the same tips that I will provide for Raising Confident Boys. Here is my revised top 5 list in which I changed ‘girls’ to ‘boys’ and which reminded me of the importance of these 5 E’s in raising well rounded children.
2019 is right around the corner! Do you have some New Year's Resolutions that you would like to try? Have you had trouble sticking to these resolutions before? Join the club!
The new year provides a new beginning. It's a great time to set goals and make plans, but it's important that you set up a support system to follow through on these goals. What does that support system look like? What if you have no one to partner with you in pushing you along? This isn't uncommon, and often when we set out to achieve goals and fail, it sometimes affects our desire to set other goals.
In Hello 2019, we will discuss a practical approach that you can make work for you. We will explore the hurdles that often cause us to halt, and strategies to be intentional about jumping over them and continuing on your way. You will learn how to include habits and intentions into your day in a way that works for YOU! The tools presented in this session will lay the ground work for success in 2019!
Hello 2019 will take place on January 5 at 2:00pm. The cost is $85 pp and space is limited. Hello 2019 can also be scheduled for groups of 5 or more friends, for couples and as team building sessions. For group rates, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Shifting Perspectives is a weekly conversation with Yolande. Yolande, a Canadian of Caribbean descent, now calls the Turks and Caicos Islands home and in this podcast challenges Caribbean woman worldwide to fuel themselves with diversity in the way they think, the way they work, the way they parent and the way they live.