Like many busy mums and carers, your Christmas ‘to do’ list is probably already running to three pages with all the presents you have to buy, end of year school events to attend, not to mention work functions. The feelings of stress are probably beginning, slowly but surely, to build towards what will be a crescendo by December 24 as you feel buffeted by all the many and varied calls on your time.
OK. Stop. Breathe. The concept of a multi-tasking Superwoman who has all presents bought and wrapped, home-made cookies and mince pies filling the house with festive smells and colour-coordinated decorations artfully arranged, is, thankfully, outdated. However, we all want to do our best for our families so here are our top tips to help you avoid some stress, stay sane and keep your kids busy and happy this Christmas…
The first and most important tip is plan, plan and then plan some more. Set aside an evening this week after the kids are in bed to plan ahead for the Christmas season. Plan your Christmas present shopping, plan the food you’re going to serve and plan ahead on the activities you will do with your children. It will be an evening well spent – you’ll feel the stress recede almost straight away as you start taking control and you’re back in the driving seat.
If you have received Christmas wish lists by now maybe arrange a Secret-Santa type gift ‘program’ amongst family and friends (and don’t forget to agree on a $$ limit – everyone appreciates it secretly!), then how about doing your Christmas shopping online this year? No one with a child under five would want or should have to hit the shops in the run-up to Christmas. There is virtually nothing you can’t buy online anymore and you can do the shopping from the comfort of your own home without dragging a tearful toddler through the crowds with you.
Plan ahead on the food you’ll be needing over the festive period and be ready to jump in and book a home delivery slot as soon as they become available. Naturally, the big players offer home delivery, but it’s also worth asking at your smaller local shops too – many will also offer delivery as well – after all, your time and sanity are more valuable than a nominal delivery fee.
Order your festive drinks online too and you can offer benefit from online specials and discounted prices from buying in bulk. So much easier than lugging it back from the shops yourself.
Obviously, all this online activity (ironically being encouraged by a screen-free advocate) will still take your attention away from the kiddiwinks and it’s tempting to plonk the kids in front of the TV or the hand them the iPad while you’re doing it – and that’s OK for a little while, of course – but too much of it can come back to bite you as well all know with cranky behaviours and poor sleep which is the last thing you want in the run up to Christmas.
Kids still need and want to be stimulated and, once school and kindy close for the holidays, they will probably miss the structure and interesting activities they normally do.
While you’re still in the early planning phase, remember to order in some Shapeeze packs which your little ones will be able to have fun with as well as building their fine motor skills and keep their letter and number recognition abilities from fading during the long school holidays. Best of all, our Shapeeze activities are designed to be completed by the children on their own without adult supervision. They can be ordered online too and delivered in a matter of days, leaving you free to hit the computer while the kids are happily engaged in some independent fine motor fun.
Once the plans are made and the orders have been placed, you might be able to sit down with your children for some memory-making Christmas craft. Here are some of our favourites:
- Toilet Roll Reindeer – so cute!
- Paper Plate Santa Claus
- Christmas Tree Art
- More Cute Reindeer and
- Play Dough Snowman
Remember – you can’t control everything, especially with children! If, things don’t quite go to plan, it’s not the end of the world – in fact often the craziest memories are the best and the ones you’ll be laughing about next Christmas!
Merry Christmas from all at Shapeeze.