Managing Emotions During the Holidays

‘Tis the season! The season of thankfulness, family, friends, wonderful food, joy….and strong emotions.

Our own emotions are on edge, our children’s emotions are fragile, and our families are sure to be feeling those strong emotions as well. Which is why it’s more important than ever to be aware of those emotions and go into holiday gatherings with a plan in place when it comes to handling them.

On my most recent Montessori Monday LIVE episode (be sure to join my free Facebook page to catch these trainings LIVE) I talk about just this topic; Handling those emotions from every angle (and avoiding an argument with Aunt Susan about what your child is or is not capable of 😉 ).

So how do we make the holidays manageable without breaking your boundaries or arguing with relatives over your parenting choices?

1.) Be prepared to hold your boundaries

When we have a routine and we’re in our everyday life, it’s easy to hold our boundaries. But when we’re traveling and enjoying the company of family and friends those routines are completely upturned. An easy and relatable example of this, is often times Grandparents. Of course, Grandparents have the purest of intentions, but they often treat your children differently than you might. It’s okay to hold boundaries with grandparents or other family members by perhaps asking them to purchase Montessori aligned gifts. You can even make it easier for them by:

You also have to remember that even if you do all of the things listed above, friends and family members STILL may not respect your wishes. Being disappointed, if this happens, is normal. Just be prepared for what your action plan will be if your boundaries are not respected.

  • Will you still allow your child to have the gift?
  • Will you regift or donate the unaligned toys?

There’s no correct answer. Just be prepared for the disappointment. Take a deep breath and remember that your little ones are always watching and listening, so model emotional regulation for them through these big emotions of disappointment.

2.) Know when it’s time to take a break

Traveling, late night parties, big groups of people, heaps of presents. All of these things can be overstimulating for both us and our children. So if you notice that your children are starting to act out, it’s your job as a parent to help them by either removing them from the situation or helping them to regulate their emotions.

We currently reside in Australia, however most of our family is in the UK and America, so when the holidays roll around we are inundated with gifts. I vividly remember when my daughter was 2 or 3 years old she had heaps of presents to open from family all over the world. It was obvious that she was overstimulated by the unwrapping so we took a break and came back to the presents at a later time.

Overstimulation and overwhelm happens for us as parents as well. Check in with yourself and if you’re feeling those emotions, take a break. You don’t need an excuse, just politely excuse yourself and take some time for you.

3.) Make sure to take some time to yourself or to just enjoy your family

With all of the hustle and bustle of the holidays it can be easy to forget ourselves. When we allow our self care routines such as healthy eating, exercise, breath work etc. go to the wayside, we invite strong emotions. So be sure you have a plan in place to continue practicing your self care routines in some manner during this holiday season.

Remember, modeling is a huge part of parenting. Which means we don’t only model manners and how to clean up after ourselves, but also how to take care of ourselves. If we want our children to know how to practice self-care we have to show them. So make a plan now!

One easy way to practice self-care is by repeating self-affirming mantras. Which is why I have put together a free list that you can snag here!

Overall just remember; The holidays are joyous and wonderful, but it’s okay to also feel overwhelmed and overstimulated. I’d love to know in the comment section below; How do you plan to set boundaries with your family during this season? AND How do you plan to continue your self-care routine? Maybe your tips and tricks will help someone else in our community.

Happy Holidays!

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