Editor’s Note: I met the fabulous Dr. G at a recent conference. We clicked immediately by joking around and it wasn’t until much later that I found out (through someone else) that this fantastic woman was a doctor. Before I left the conference, I bought her book “Teach Resilience.” It is was so helpful that I went back and purchased more from her to give as Christmas gifts. You must pick up some of her book for your holiday gift giving–moms, dads, teachers, homeschoolers, babysitters will all appreciate this. It’s a tiny book with different parenting tips on each page–short, sweet and relevant. It’s so genius that I’m bummed that I didn’t think of it! Anyway, I ask Dr. G if she would give us some parenting tips for less stressful holidays. We all need that, right? -jackie
When the holidays and vacation are approaching, everyone has a picture in mind of what will be great. Ask each talking member of your family to name three things they are looking forward to doing during this busy time. Show your whole family respect by making sure that each person gets to influence the plan, at least a little.
Make sure you schedule – in ink! – some times that are just for family, and don’t let anyone else know you’re around. This way you can be sure you won’t wake up in January and realized that you didn’t get to enjoy some of your favorite traditions. Even better, you’ll teach your kids that you really do value family time most. We want our children to be responsible for sharing these traditions with our grandkids, after all!
Ask your kids what they like and don’t about the various holiday events. Look for ways to minimize the boring or frustrating parts (for you AND them) and then make your expectations clear about their behavior during those times. We all are more respectful when we know what we need to do.
Perhaps one of your child’s gifts could be a journal with your 2012 letter – a conversation about how she’s grown that year – or you could surprise him with a list of 10 traits your really admire about your son. Encourage your kids to give someone a keepsake they’ve made or written or created. The responsibility of gift giving can teach all kinds of great lessons that cost absolutely zip, and may be treasured far more than the pricey ones.
People get sick, or tired, or have a bad day even on a big holiday. If something has to get cancelled, teach your kids to be resilient by finding a different meaningful activity to pursue, or talking about the silver lining in your change of plans.
Doctor G (Deborah Gilboa, MD) is a board certified Family Physician, mom of four kids and founder of AskDoctorG.com, a resource for parents and educators who are working to raise great kids. She gives parenting workshops around the country and offers great free tools for raising kids who are Respectful, Responsible and Resilient! (Hello – the Three R’s!) You can find her on Facebook or Twitter, too!
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