The holidays are quickly approaching, and many parents are feeling overwhelmed by a sense of dread. As a parent, you know that the holidays often mean traveling and possibly arranging a stay with family members.
Traveling with children is hard enough, but things tend to get even messier when you stay at somebody else’s house. The house rules at your in-laws, for instance, may differ from the house rules you have set for your family. As such, you often worry about disruptions in the routines you set for your children.
Rather than enjoying the holiday season, you find yourself upset about routine disruptions. Perhaps you stress over ways to keep your normal routines in place even though you are somewhere other than the comfort of your home. However, it is okay to take a vacation from what is routine.
Holiday Create a Natural Disruption
Are you the type of parent that has a strict schedule for your children? You eat dinner by 6:00 p.m., have your kids showered and in their pajamas by 8:00 p.m., and in bed by 9:00. There is absolutely nothing wrong with routine.
In fact, creating a routine can create a healthy balance for you and your children. Your children come to know what it is you expect, and they behave accordingly. Routine can help keep everyone happy and sane.
However, the holidays often disrupt routines even without the fuss of traveling or staying with other family members. Kids feel a sense of excitement. As such, they may feel hyped up, which makes going to bed at a normal time difficult. Disruptions to what is routine can make you feel stressed and frustrated.
The Other House Rules
Going to stay with family during the holiday season can create even more of a disruption. Not only do you have the excitement your children feel, but now you must obey by the house rules that someone else sets.
Maybe you decide to stay with your sister-in-law only to find that she does not have her children on a sleep schedule. Rather than enjoying your visit and the holiday spirit, you feel overwhelmed with a sense of anxiety. All you want is to stick to the schedules you have set for your kids.
It is Okay to Take a Vacation
Consider holiday visits with family like a vacation. You have already arranged to take time off work to visit your relatives, which is exciting. Now consider the fact that your kids are just as excited to see family members they do not often get to see.
Do not stress if your children miss their normal bedtime because they spent an extra hour or two playing with their cousins or getting hugs and kisses from their grandparents. A vacation from the routine can help make all of you feel better and can make your holiday visit more enjoyable.
That is not to say that you should let your children run amuck and stay up until all hours of the night, but it does mean being less rigid when it comes to your schedules and expectations. Just remember that when the holiday season is over, you will be home again and back to your normal routines, so enjoy a break from the norm for just a little while.
If you are stressing about the upcoming holidays and how to handle traveling with children, contact a therapist. I look forward to speaking with you and helping you ease the anxiety and stress that parents often feel during the holiday season.