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5 Parenting Tips for a More Stress Free Holiday Season


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

Tips to Keep Family Stress Down During Holidays

Use These Parenting Tips for a More Stress Free Holiday Season1. Get the family on the same page.

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.

2. Lock the doors and turn down the lights!

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!

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3. Clarify your party expectations.

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.

4. Give some non-traditional gifts.

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.

5. Be flexible during the holidays.

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, 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!


Teach Resilience Book by Doc G--Get the book now!


[Post Image: Stock]

This post was written by a guest writer for Prime Parents Club. We are not currently taking new guest writers.


  1. Prime Parents Club

    November 14, 2012 at 10:59 am

    You know, this in #2 really hit home for me: “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. ”

    The past few years I’ve found myself racing through the holidays and not remembering anything–just happy to have it over. Thanks for reminding me to slow down and HAVE FUN with family. /jackie

    • Doctor G

      November 14, 2012 at 11:58 am

      I’m honored to be here today. I think the trick is to ask ourselves – what do we want (and want our family) to remember from this month?

      I hope you get memories you’ll love!

  2. Wade Wingler

    November 14, 2012 at 6:46 am

    Love these tips! Great advice. As we are re-establishing some holiday traditions, setting expectations and clear communication is key. Thanks, Dr. G!

    • Doctor G

      November 14, 2012 at 11:57 am

      Dear Mr. Wingler,
      Thanks so much! I hope you have a beautiful and relaxed holiday season.

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