We all have expectations of how the holiday season will be. The media, marketing campaigns and advertisers fill our heads with visions of sugar plums and smiling families opening expensive electronic gifts. Our childhood memories either positive or negative add to our inflated and often unrealistic ideal holiday expectations. All these expectations put a bit of added pressure on us, our children, and spouses. Tis the season for too much sugar, not enough sleep, winter break from school, emotional tension and big meltdowns.
So, this year, my holiday mantra is “If you can predict it, you can prevent it”. I do everything in my power to avoid taking my children to the store this whole month. After one too many unpleasant scenes focused on what toys they want, how many they want, and when they want them, followed by tantrums and tears, I have come to realize that these meltdowns can be eliminated by avoiding the Christmas wonderland toy aisle and staying out of the store completely.
Last year my husband and I had a holiday meltdown over trying to get some very challenging icicle lights on our two story house. The meltdown started off with a tall ladder, a husband who is not fond of heights, tangled strings of lights, 2 curious children and one dog who must be near me at all times. It got worse from there, as rain drizzled on us in the decreasing light of the evening. Suffice it to say, after some tempers flared, the lights went back to the store, and we were happy to have lights on our Christmas tree. (I do wonder what our neighbors think about the animated discussions that take place in our front yard now and then.) This year, we started early in the day, when it was not raining, and the kids were not home. We locked the dog in the house, and used lights that did not require high skill level to untangle. There was some tension about how to plug them in, and whether my husband or myself would climb on the roof, but not a meltdown compounded by weather, waning light, kids, and dog under the ladder . And out lights look great!
But back to predictability. I made pumpkin bread with the kids. My three year old wanted to eat more, and promptly grabbed a loaf off the counter where they were cooling awaiting wrapping. I put the cooling rack on a higher shelf after retrieving the loaf from her quick little hands. She immediately got a chair and reached for the loaves again. My dear husband reminded me, out of sight, out of mind. I could predict that she would want more if it was anywhere in view, so I could easily put them out of sight….
So take this idea, (If you can predict a behavior, a problem, you can likely find a way to prevent it) and apply it now and into the new year to facilitate peace and harmony in your house!
And feel free to share your favorite holiday meltdown story below!