Preparing for the Holiday Season

By: Behaviorally Speaking

Happy African American family eating holiday dinner at dining table

About this Podcast Episode

On this episode, Angela and Kristin discuss setting realistic expectations for the holidays and making the most out of this exciting (and often hectic) time. They give tips for managing stress, capitalizing on teaching skills, setting boundaries with family, remembering healthy habits, being kind to yourself, and more.

About the Hosts

Angela Nelson, Ed.D., BCBA, and Kristin Bandi, MA, BCBA, are Board Certified Behavior Analysts with expertise on human behavior and child development. They spend their days working with parents and caregivers of both typically developing children as well as children with learning, social, and behavioral challenges, or developmental disabilities. This podcast is brought to you by RethinkCare. If you need support as a parent or caregiver of a child, we encourage you to ask your Human Resources team if RethinkCare is a part of your employer-provided benefits. RethinkCare reaches millions of lives globally through partnerships with top organizations and Fortune 1,000 companies.


Angie:  Cool, okay, all right here we go hello and welcome to our 29th episode of Behaviorally Speaking I’m one of your hosts Angela Nelson a Board Certified Behavior Analysts and mother of two.

Kristin: And I’m Kristin Bandi also a Board Certified Behavior Analysts and mother of three. Hey Angie, how are you?

Angie:  I’m good I was just looking at this topic of holidays and thinking just last night I was ah, kind of getting my older child ready for bed and she’s like mom have you thought about Christmas yet and it’s like what Christmas, wait what month are we in and I haven’t even thought and even crossed my mind so I’m way behind.

Kristin: Um, yeah, no I was just thinking about that too when I was thinking about our podcast today, I was like I am not at all prepared like I don’t know why it totally snuck up on me this year but um same for us yesterday. Actually, was it? Yeah, it was yesterday morning my older one goes to school a little bit earlier, so I was getting the younger two ready and my daughter who’s four goes “Mommy, we have to wear orange today” and I was like “You have to what? Where do you even see this?”, and she was insistent on wearing orange and I mean I don’t know about you but like my kids don’t have a whole lot of orange I don’t know just not really just in there. So I ended up finding like a peach shirt and like black pants and then she loves it too so she had like an orange and black tutu I think probably from last year’s Halloween um, anyway I dressed her in that, and then she was insistent that Theo, which is my youngest a year and a half, also wears orange. So I had to dress everyone in orange and then when I picked them up I don’t think anyone was swearing orange. So I just think it’s so funny like where did that even come from?

Angie:  I don’t, you know what? My kids had to wear orange this week too. Yeah, we need to look it up. We need to look it up.

Kristin: Oh okay, right? It’s got it must be a thing we need to investigate I’m going to have to figure it out now because I was thinking like oh maybe it’s for Halloween, they’re wearing orange but they’re doing like some trick or treat stuff tonight. But yeah, it’s interesting, okay stay tuned.

Angie:  Yeah, we’ll have to we’ll look it up and we’ll follow up. Yeah, um, well let’s dive into this topic today. So this is our holiday topic we put out content every year around the holidays. It can be a tricky time. We really wanted to kind of talk a little bit about setting realistic expectations. So we know during the holiday’s things can be more stressful. The kids are out of school for different break periods. The stores are packed. Family gatherings you name it so we wanted to kind of talk about how we can be proactive. How can we know make the most of this time of year and really make sure that we get our heads in the game you know with realistic expectations. So that’s kind of yeah.

Kristin: Um, yes.

Angie:  Our thing today and we came up with some tips that we want to share so I don’t know Kristin you want to break it down kind of get into the first one.

Set Realistic Expectations

Kristin: Um, yeah, yes, it’s so interesting I think the biggest theme here is to set those realistic expectations and I think you can use history to think about what your expectations might be you know, or your stress levels. So, the first one is thinking about your stress level we know that you might be a little more stressed for the holidays and so thinking about ways to proactively address that so there are lots of things you can do. What I wanted to say there is like the first thing is to think about it and call it out like it’s going to be more stressful and just say it in your mind over and over. It’s going to be more stressful but how can I make sure that I make the most of the holidays. So, I think one thing you can do definitely is just preparation. We talk a lot on our podcasts about being proactive and it applies here too so recognizing um that your expectations might need to be recalibrated. That’s a big one. So, what are my expectations for the holiday season. Are they realistic and if they’re not then ahead of time. Maybe we calibrate that a little bit and recalibrates that. made up a word we calibrate could be a new one? yeah.

Angie:  Yeah, no I thought I love that word. That’s my favorite word. You know I try to use it in like one podcast. Ah, every podcast at least once.

Kristin: Yeah, um, and then the next one I think is part of this to help reduce the stress a little bit is to divide and conquer when you can so this doesn’t always apply to the holidays this applies to all the time, I’m sure but really where you can figure out where to divide and conquer. Especially when you have your kids home.

Angie:  Yes.

Divide and Conquer (the Holidays)

Kristin: So we talk a lot about this between Angie and I but finding ways where you can say. Okay, you’re going to watch the kids during this part of the week and I’m going to watch them during this part of the week because you have your children home and maybe you need to do some holiday gift wrapping or you need to do some shopping. So, recently Angie and I just hosted something right before this and someone on there actually said something about like a child swap which I thought was the coolest thing so having your child that has a friend and there’s class and maybe you say okay I’m going to drop off Susie for a little bit with your child and you.

Angie:  Yeah.

Kristin: And then you can return the favor and then you know do a bit of a child swap. I Thought that was really cool. Yeah yep, exactly um, other.

Angie:  I love that I think that’s especially important too If you’re a single parent and you don’t have a partner to kind of trade a tap out you know, trade out and things like that that can be really creative.

Kristin: Ways to really reduce some of the stress is to think about what you would consider to be a successful holiday. So, what are the one or two things that I know that if I do those then this was a success and maybe we push those other things aside or we put them into that bucket. That’s like cool if it happens. But if it doesn’t it’s fine. You know so like where are these two things going well then boom, we did it. You know we had a successful holiday season. Yeah, and then one more I think that’s important and again kind of an overall theme and most of life. But. Really when we get into the stressful holiday season thinking about what you can control and what you cannot control and focusing your energy on what you can control. So you know some examples. Well, you can’t control the line. Maybe at that big lighting show. Um that you want to go to. You can’t control it. There’s a crazy line or there’s a million people there and in your kids, one of your kids throws a huge tantrum and it’s not what you thought it was going to be you really can’t control that but you might be able to control what food you’re serving at your holiday party but you can’t control if maybe your guests are late. So just some ideas there of like okay, focus on the things that you can control, and then there are going to be some other things that you just have to let go.

Angie:  Yeah I love that I think that’s a great model to share with your kids and teach your kids too and kind of a good mantra right? And so important during this time of year when stress is heightened anyways is that yep there are going to be things we can’t control and so we’re going to focus on what we can. And we kind of have to let some of that stuff roll off our back. So it helps to kind of reframe frame reframe the holidays a little bit. Yeah.

Kristin: Right? right? Yeah, exactly we went to ah this was I don’t know if this is last year the year before, but we were it was when we were living up in Maryland and there’s this really cool like ice. The thing I’m going to call it a thing because that’s exactly what it was. It was like this building, and you go in and there’s like all sorts of ice sculptures and just all of this really just interesting stuff. But at the time we only had two kids and they were much younger. So I think Parker was like three and our daughter was then one and my husband and I had all these really big expectations for their success and joy and it ended up just being an absolute disaster like the line was so long. No one even liked it. It was freezing I mean we’re going into an ice room, but it was just colder than we imagined. Um, my son ended up getting the flu the next day like it was just not. It was awful. So I think it’s like that that helped me moving forward into the next couple holiday seasons thinking like okay I’m going to make sure to recalibrate my expectations. Um and it’s okay if those things happen.

Angie:  Yeah, those I think sometimes we have such high hopes for certain things, and we get nostalgic and there are those really cool things that might be ah great on the docket for a couple years from now you know that we don’t have to write it off as well. We’re never doing that again. But maybe we come back. To it? Yeah, so I did look up um, wearing oranges for unity day and it’s so cool that it’s across the country you and I are literally opposite sides of the country and our kids were wearing orange on the same day. So yeah, it’s to show unity for kindness acceptance and inclusion um and send a vision a visible message against bullying and so on. Yeah, so just wanted to highlight that. Yeah, yeah, definitely.

Kristin: Um I love that oh so cool B Blum bladder participated in that, and I took her word for it instead of like no well what are you talking about? Ah wow. Also, I mean it’s kind of amazing that she told me that they had to wear orange I need to give her some props for that. They must have really pushed. It. Yes, yeah, wow.

Angie:  Yeah, it is the school must ah well on props to the school. Yeah, very cool. So yeah, so back to our holiday topic the next tip really is capitalizing on skill building. Around the holiday time before and during so there are a lot of opportunities that we can provide our kids for building skills. Um I’ll kind of just go through a couple examples. So, for gross motor skills and fine motor skills being able to you know use our bodies and use our hands things like can we practice. Rapping ahead of time. Um I did this with my kids. We just had papers and we had boxes and they just had a blast doing this, but I taught them how to wrap and then they went through you know, five rolls of tape which is kind of a bummer, but you can buy them really cheap at the dollar store I learned um because you know kids.

Capitalize on Skill Building

Kristin: Um, oh fun.

Angie:  They go through tape like crazy when my kids they like to do art projects and yeah, so hit up the dollar store. Ah yeah, yeah, yeah, let’s see.

Kristin: Well and not to mention have you ever seen a kid pull off tape like it’s like just everyone envision. They pulled it and then it’s like Shhh like can you’re like tear it and then you end up with like this piece. That’s like the whole thing.

Angie:  And that wraps all the way around. Yeah oh gosh yeah bless the dollar store. Yeah, so but um, working on motor skills. So wrapping is a good one working on numbers is huge. There are so many opportunities.

Kristin: Yes, so a good one to practice. Yes, I know.

Angie:  Um, during the holiday time we do a lot of cooking right? So for my kids, it’s okay, let’s set the oven. Let’s get that to 375 whatever it is. We’re going to set a timer so we work on math skills. My kids are a little bit older right? So they’re working on measurement. It’s also good for gross motor skills too right? so. We’re you know we’re cooking we’re stirring. We’re pouring. We’re making sure we’re not spilling. My kids are pretty good at cracking eggs now which I had to be just I had to step back and be okay with that. But you know they’re never going to learn unless you let them do it right? So yeah, and social skills taking turns.

Kristin: Um, oh, that’s true. Oh yeah.

Angie:  Opening presents. There are a lot of holidays and this time of year and many of these holidays involve giving and so on. So maybe they’re going to open up some gifts um, working on your manners. So that’s a good thing to practice right now. Please thank you greetings so you can do role plays to kind of get in the mode. Um, another thing too that we may not think of doing ahead of time is practicing sitting for longer durations. Maybe you have a family dinner that’s going to be coming up and you want your kids to at least sit for a couple of minutes and that’s okay, maybe that’s a huge success for them is to sit for five minutes. So maybe you systematically kind of start practicing that now. Um, but remembering to be realistic about what’s possible too. I hosted a webinar a couple years ago on preparing for the holidays and one of the things that I kind of cooked up is well if you have a child that’s not able to sit, maybe you give them a job.

Kristin: Um, yeah, that’s a good one.

Angie:  You know so think about that think about getting creative and instead of maybe getting embarrassed or worrying gosh. Everyone’s you know going to think I’m a terrible parent because my kid’s not sitting at this fancy table. Well maybe they pass out the roles and you know they’re going to love that a lot more and the family might think that’s really cute and fun right? So just kind of get creative and um, cut yourself some slack. Um you know on what they can and can’t do but start thinking about proactively teaching some skills now and how to weave in learning during the holiday time.

Kristin: Yeah, oh this is such a good one and you’re right I Don’t think we think about it that much. But if you sit and you think about your at least in our house because my kids are still pretty young, I mean they’re I’m still at the phase in life where I’m usually still making the kids dinner while I’m not even eating dinner yet I’m usually like doing the dishes or doing something else while my toddlers in his highchair and I’m feeding him and so I’m still kind of in that Face. So, my other two are a little bit better at sitting and eating. But it’s just such a. It’s so important to think about that if my kids are typically. You know up and running around. Oh, I got to get some water. Oh, I got to get this I got to get that and they can only sit for a few minutes right now at dinner what makes me think that we have this big family dinner that they’re going to just sit there nicely when my in-laws are in town. You know so I love that it’s like just thinking about those expectations.

Angie:  Right? right.

Kristin: And making sure that they align with what your kids are actually going to do and then also an alternative to that is finding something else for them to do that helps them continue to be a part of the family. So I love that idea and I’m probably going to have to steal that one for my daughter.

Angie:  Ah, yep.

Kristin: Or to help her maybe pass out the roles or pass out the napkins when because we’re hosting Thanksgiving at our house this year so yes so, it’s going to be ah, it’s going to be different. We’ve never hosted it before, so it’ll be fun but I’m like it’ll be fun. Be fine right.

Angie:  Yeah, that’s your mantra Just it’s going to be fun.

Have Appropriate Expectations

Kristin: To be fine so that actually leads really nicely into the next one which is having appropriate expectations for the day of the holiday. So again, I mean that’s a basically what I just said in that thinking about these situations that you’re. Your kids are going to come across and making sure that you’re preparing for it. So, If you’re going To. You’re going to someone else’s house, and you know your child gets overwhelmed. Maybe when there are a lot of people around or there are a lot of expectations. Maybe a lot of social expectations. Maybe you find a place where you’re proactively you ask where hey where could I take my child when he or she is feeling a little bit overwhelmed where can we go, I can let them calm down. Um so thinking about doing that bringing your own toys bringing your own snacks. Bringing things along with you that you know will make a more successful event if you’re at someone else’s house I actually suggest this one a lot to families even when it’s not during the holidays, but a lot of kids might go over to another child’s house for a play date or for example or let’s say you’re going over to a friend’s house. There’s um, not any other kids there but I always say just have like you’re on the go backpack that you just keep somewhere, and you leave everything in it and for my daughter, it’s filled with coloring books and pencils and little barbies and everything and we keep it there. Those are her just on the go toys. So we know if I’m going somewhere like her brother’s baseball game then she just brings her best backpack and she automatically has stuff to do so that might be really helpful during the holidays.

Angie:  Yeah, a hundred percent yeah, we do. We didn’t we’ve done that um for years too when my older daughter was playing basketball. My younger daughter’s kind of sitting there on the ground just kind of playing around and so. I smartened up and I’m like okay I’m going to pack a bag of art supplies and so she would just be on the ground kind of underneath the folding chairs just stretched out just coloring and everybody was happy. It was great.

Kristin: Ah, yes, yep, exactly a couple of other things um, eating ahead of time. This could be one so if your child has let’s say food allergies, right? We want to say hey don’t worry about Johnny I’m going to bring him some food you just make dinner. Maybe your child has a gluten allergy. For example, right? You just make dinner the way you’re going to make it I’ll make sure to bring food for my child and then no one has to worry right? we can say I’ve got it covered that your host it doesn’t feel like they have to stress out and prepare something different. So that might be a really just a nice thing that you can do to make everyone feel a little bit better. Yeah, and then one more on this one. This one comes up a lot actually so setting appropriate boundaries with family, and this is one that is of course every family is different. Everyone has different values.

Angie:  Right? absolutely.

Kristin: And you just want to think about what’s appropriate for your family, but a lot of ah lot of parents might say my grandparents or my child’s grandparents. They really want to hug like they’re big huggers and they feel that hugs are respectful and shows just you know, ah just really respect. You might say well, I want my child to make a choice whether they hug or not and so those are things that you want to work out ahead of time before you get into those situations where someone’s asking your child for a hug your child yells at them and runs off and then you know we’re kind of stuck in that in that moment. So certainly, things to think about.

Angie:  Yeah, yeah, that’s gotten a lot of popularity that just concept of you know consent and you don’t have to hug someone if you don’t want to and the times have changed you know back I think when we were kids.

Kristin: Yep, Um, yeah, oh yeah.

Angie:  Like oh we have to hug the aunts and uncles and you just didn’t really want to. We don’t know them maybe that well and now you know things are kind of changing, So I like that kind of empowering your kid. Let’s talk about you know what? the boundaries are ahead of time. Yeah.

Kristin: Yeah, and I think also though I mean keeping in mind that that times have changed but it hasn’t changed for their grandparents perhaps or our grandparents. Perhaps if they’re still here. So, I think that’s where the balance is well. We don’t want to offend anybody. But, I also want my child to make their own choice. So there is no right answer here. But I think that it’s definitely something that you have to think about in your family and consider what’s the right thing to do right?

Angie:  Yeah, that’s a really good point. Yeah, and that’s what makes it hard is that you’ve got you know different values going across different generations and stuff too. Yeah, yeah, so our next tip is involving your kids to make them feel included.

Kristin: Exactly.

Involve Your Children To Make Them Feel Included

Angie:  Included during the holiday time so kind of drawing on some of the things we’ve said before could it be you know, albeit maybe messy when your kids decide they want to ah decorate for holiday time. Um, can they get involved in decorating. You know the theme of today’s podcast is really you know setting expectations that are realistic and making the most of your holiday, right? So, the kids are perhaps going to be happy when they’re feeling like oh I can get involved in the decorating I actually just let my kids decorate. I know this sounds crazy because I’m so a type A, but I just let them do it. You know they decorated for Halloween, oh they get so into it. They said the other day mom you know I just thought of something, as soon as we don’t even have to take down all the holiday stuff, and then it’s blank for a while, just take down all the fall stuff and then we put up all the Christmas stuff up right away. We don’t have to even have a gap you know they were just they’re thinking about those things and they’re so excited. So I just let them do it. Um, you know and then baking too oh go ahead.

Kristin: Um, oh I love it? Yeah, but well I was going to say I told I told my daughter last night actually as we were going to bed, and we were talking about pumpkins we’re going to go to a pumpkin patch this weekend, and she wants to well,  I don’t know what she wants to do with it. But I told her just to um, appease her I told her that we could glitter, we could do glitter pumpkins and after I said it I was like outside we could do glitter pumpkins outside, because glitter is the worst it is.

Angie:  Um, ah yeah, it’s the worst.

Kristin: Everywhere. Ah so now I’m committed to a glitter pumpkin outside this weekend, so we’ll have to let you know how that goes.

Angie:  Ah, yeah, we did a glitter we did glitter pumpkins one year you just um, set out a tarp or set out something widespread, and then you can kind of shake it into the trash canon. It’s not so bad.

Kristin: Oh yes. Okay, yeah, we’re going to do it out outside in the Grass. Oh Good idea. Okay.

Angie:  So yeah, you know what’s cool is if you paint a pumpkin with glow in the dark paint and then you put glitter on it. It’s pretty neat. Yeah, we did it last year you got to you know with glow in the dark something you got to really hold the flashlights up next to it for a while. But um, it’s kind of cool. You know was an experiment. Yeah.

Kristin: Um, oh yeah, Parker would love that he loves anything that glows in the dark. So that’s so cool. Yeah.

Angie:  Yeah, yeah, super Fun. So and you know involving your kids in other ways to make them feel included of course baking. Um, maybe even asking them maybe you have a teenager, right? So It’s holiday time. Let’s break out you know holiday treats. And meals and do you want to make something wrapping, of course, enlist their help. This is a good time to like I said before you know practice some skills also kind of give them some additional duties and maybe even um, giving them some autonomy to choose gifts for others right? So maybe you’re giving a gift to a grandparent or something and that makes kids feel very empowered when you know you can give them the opportunity to choose their own gifts for loved ones.

Kristin: Yeah, yeah I love that and you had mentioned teenagers and I was just thinking that this is a really good tip for teenagers having them be and like what’s their thing right? So like what are they in charge of for the holidays and maybe you might have teenagers that like is like okay making cookies is my thing I like to make the peanut butter ones with the Hershey Kiss on top like that’s my thing. That’s what I make every year but I think it’s helpful, especially for our teenagers to really help them define. What’s their thing and that helps keep them engaged year after year in the holidays when typically, our teenagers want to pull away. Yeah, year after year so start now maybe 11 or 12 and you’re like what’s your thing? What’s it going to be you have to do it every year um might be really helpful.

Angie:  Right? That is one of those things too I feel like even I don’t know a lot of teenagers of parents that I’ve worked with that is a time to kind of. They do come back in they you know regardless of being a teenager or not sometimes rituals around holidays or around food.

Kristin: Um, okay, yeah, yeah.

Angie:  Can be a really good way to kind of suck them back in you know and if it’s through food a lot of times that’s a good way to hook them. So yeah.

Kristin: Yeah, well you segued again into our next one unintentionally because the next one is really important. Don’t forget about your healthy habits. So, this is a big one during any sort of, if you’re on vacation obviously or even just like winter break and your kids are home and we have time off and everybody is a little bit more relaxed when it comes to like bedtime and food and um it can be really tricky if you go too far the other way when you’re on vacation.

Remember Healthy Habits

Angie:  Um, yeah.

Kristin: You have family in town or you’re just in the middle of the holidays if you, kids are staying up way too late or if they’re eating too many sweets and then when you have to transition back to let’s say normal life right? It’s really difficult so where you can try to find a balance of course. Yes, where maybe we don’t stick to the exact bedtime routine and the exact meal times. We’re always going to change it up a little bit but maybe within reason so you’re not just having to pull back and go the other direction. Um, at the end of the holiday break. Yeah, that’s a hard one. But important.

Angie:  Um, yeah, absolutely hundred percent yeah it is because it’s like you want to enjoy the holidays you want to stay up watch the movies and things like that. But then you know. You don’t want what’s going to happen on the back end like it’s just it’s hard to get back into the swing of things. Yeah.

Kristin: Yeah, and you know what you could do similar to what we talk about all the time for summer is we always have to prepare for back to school. But ah if you’re let’s say your kids are home for a couple weeks or you have the first week is vacation and then the second week is not at least those last like three or four days at the end of your winter break. You start to get back to a routine start to get back to that bedtime back to those better eating habits at least if you know you want to have that one week where you just don’t really pay too much attention at least try to get it back together before the night before school starts at least? yeah.

Angie:  Yeah, definitely all right? Well, we’re coming up on our last tip here. It is don’t forget to take care of yourself. So, take time for yourself. Ah like we talked about things can be crazy and I know I’ve seen you know a lot of people get time off during the holidays which is nice. Um, but that doesn’t mean that it’s just chilling every day right? At least still have um the kids and activities and you know holiday get togethers and things like that. So take time for yourself. It’s a good time to practice saying no. Um, this is hard and it does take practice and maybe you make a goal of saying no just one time right? So maybe there’s a lot of um, you know, events and things like that and you just say you know what this one? Maybe it’s with people you don’t know as well or it’s not at a very convenient time. So, permit yourself to skip that one. You know it’s okay, um, seeking counseling when you need it. There is something called seasonal affective disorder and it’s ironic the acronym is sad, so you know it happens usually during fall and winter kind of when the seasons change and um. Sometimes people aren’t feeling a little bit more blue or more depressed. Um, and so it does happen and so being able to reach out and know that you have counseling a lot of our listeners are listening through there you know, um because they have access to our program through their employer. A lot of employers do offer counseling services through their employee assistance program so reach out for help when you need it.  Seeking childcare or maybe camps. But I think we’ve talked about this quite a bit Kristin don’t wait until the last minute. Don’t wait until December. Yes, no as you see that because those camps fill up and then when.

Kristin: Um, yes, sign up now right now.

Angie:  You know school gets out for winter break. Um, those spots won’t be available anymore. So that’s one thing to be proactive about make a note on your calendar um to kind of look hunt for those camps now. So um, yeah, yeah.

Kristin: Yeah, I was going to say one thing on that I don’t think we mentioned it earlier but it’s really important, so you had mentioned you know sometimes people get off work when their kids are home from school but other people don’t you know you don’t get off work and maybe like Saturday is the only day that you have to shop but you also have your kids home, so now we’re our stress levels elevated because I have to maybe prepare my house I also have to go Christmas shopping or holiday shopping and now I have my kids home so don’t be afraid to seek childcare during the time when you’re not working. So you might like we said before do like a child swap of some kind or make sure that you can um have somebody maybe come over and babysit your kids or so you know switch with your partner something like that but making sure that you don’t feel bad about seeking child care when you could technically watch your kids but you have other competing priorities. So just you know grant yourself that the ability to do that. Yeah, right.

Angie:  Um, yeah, absolutely yeah, 100% don’t feel guilty about that. Yeah, um, one other thing that he just thought of too that I’m trying to do more of is take pleasure in the little, small thing so when I’ve got, you can relate to this Kristin when you’ve got back to back meetings and you know you’ve got kids you finish work and you don’t, you’re not just done right? Then you got to launch into the baseball practice and then the dinner and you know bats and laundry. Um I’ve started just kind of taking pleasure in little things like I don’t drink coffee because the caffeine just makes me too jittery but I like the concept of it so I have this decaf coffee and so I will just make myself a decaf coffee I’ll put it in my little cup that has ah you know a special straw and with ice and like milk, and it’s just no big deal but it’s something fun that I like to do and it just makes a little treat for myself. So little, tiny things like that or maybe um I got these special holiday socks, and I was thinking the other day I’m just going to put them on I’m going to wear them. You know it just made me feel. It perked me up. It made me feel good little to things like that that don’t take a lot of effort. Don’t cost much money. You know it kind of goes into this concept of taking care of yourself. Do little things for yourself. Even if you can’t do the big things and do a full-on spa day. You know, a lot of us can’t do that. It’s just hey little, tiny things little pleasures.

Kristin: Yeah, yeah I love that and I think something that’s related to this that I do a lot is even if I do one small task throughout the house. So maybe that day I did one load of Laundry. Oh. Okay, I am so happy that load of laundry I did it and I put it away now that is like a milestone for me if I actually put it away in the same day that it’s in the dryer that is amazing. I’ve got like various laundry baskets around the house that like the clothes just don’t get put away and ah okay, my reason for this is because I have a toddler who climbs the stairs and he’s figured out the baby gate, so I cannot go upstairs and put clothes away when he’s awake because he will follow me and then he’ll fall on the stairs and I also can’t put his clothes away when he’s asleep because he’s in his room. So that’s my defense there? Um, but back to back to whenever I do something even if it’s super small for the house or for one of my kids. Oh, I signed him up for camp bam you know like I try to take pleasure in those tiny little things and feel like okay I’ve been I’ve accomplished something today, and tomorrow I’ll do something else, and I always remind myself of that because there are so many things to do all the time. But if I just get one thing done then I feel one important thing done I feel really good about it.

Angie:  Yeah, that’s I think that’s a really important kind of global holistic takeaway for parents is um, you know don’t forget all the things you’re doing get cut yourself some slack. Um, praise yourself for the things last night I bought the kids school pictures. They’ve been sitting on my desk for two weeks and I just said to myself I’m doing this tonight I’m like taking hold of this project and it didn’t it took me like 10 minutes it wasn’t that long, but I felt so good afterwards because I got that off my plate.

Kristin: Um, yes, right.

Angie:  And yeah, then it was like this mental load was kind of lifted a little bit. Yeah.

Kristin: Yeah, it’s a big one people don’t think about it, and if you just kind of make that effort to pay attention to it then it can’t really go a long way. Yeah, all right? good? Yeah, let’s do it.

Angie:  Mm Definitely yeah so shall we do a little recap, all right?


Kristin: Okay, so going back to our first tip. Um, think about ways to proactively address those stress levels. So, think about your expectations. Do. We need to divide and conquer. Maybe we can come up with a couple of priorities like these are if these things happen, I know that I had a successful holiday season. And of course, think about what you can control versus what you cannot control.

Angie:  All right, and the next tip we went over capitalizing on skill building. So, utilize this time proactively to teach some skills that your kids might need for the holiday time those holiday adventures, family get together, and then you know to see how you can integrate learning into all of those holiday activities.

Kristin: And then of course, once we get to those holiday activities have appropriate expectations so work with your family and your kids to really set appropriate expectations for the day of the holiday so that it will be successful.

Angie:  And then the next tip involving your kids to make them feel included in this time of year so decorating baking wrapping gifts for others and so on.

Kristin: And very important. Don’t forget about your healthy Habits. So even though it’s the holiday season try to you to pay attention to your sleep and you’re eating for you and for your kids to make sure that you can transition back into your regular routine after the winter break.

Angie:  Yup and rounding off the last tip here kind of similar to your tip Kristin, is don’t forget to take care of yourself, take time for yourself practicing no seek counseling if you need it, seek childcare and do it early and try to remember to take pleasure in the little things and you know cut yourself some slack. Give yourself a break and praise yourself for and all the many things that you do.

Kristin: Yes, perfect yeah have a wonderful holiday season everyone. Thanks so much for joining us on our 29th episode of behaviorally speaking our next episode we will talk with a guest about helping our kids make friends. Until then don’t forget to subscribe to this podcast on your favorite platform so you never miss an episode.

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