Parenting is a 24 X 7 job without a single day off, and therefore, it would suffice to say that the festive season which brings along with it, a lot of cheer and positivity, can also be a period of great struggle for several parents as they gear up to deal with their kids.
We all look forward to this time of the year; these festive months are a symbol of joy, hope, excitement, togetherness, & more. While this year, we as parents already have a stay-at-home routine for our kids, the festivals are nevertheless going to be a time when these routines will be messed with.
Why is festival time a struggle for parents? Primarily, because along with the responsibility of the home, work, and raising other human beings, there comes the additional responsibility of ensuring that festivals are celebrated in a certain way.
Everyone needs a break and the festivals provide that perfect excuse for one; however, we often get burdened by the expectations of how to celebrate. These expectations could be societal or internally imposed; irrespective they do add on to some pressure. And if there are kids at home, then taking any kind of stress will just play out negatively.
Different children react differently to the festive season; some may have been looking forward to it, while others may be overwhelmed by all the sensory stimulus around. Here are some suggestions to navigate through the parenting struggles faced during the festive season:
- Involve the children in festival preparations. In an age-appropriate manner, tasks around the house can be allotted to the kids at home. Take their help in cleaning the room, packing gifts, preparing decorations, etc. This way children also get a sense of responsibility and their energies can be channeled more toward something constructive.
- Avoid looking for perfection. The concept of a perfect festival day doesn’t exist. There are bound be some hiccups, some forgotten things, some raised tempers, etc. But don’t let that become a reason for flare-ups with your kids; instead, enjoy the small good things which are working out in your favour and look at the larger picture.
- Have conversations about the festivals with children. Talk about the different family rituals, perhaps even the different ways in which people celebrate the same festival (& this is certainly true for India). This helps children understand the significance of festivals and may also push them into getting more involved in the same.
- Set realistic expectations from your children. Giving them too much to do, not expecting them to have questions about what’s happening, etc. will only create a bad mood in the air. The festive season can also be used as an opportunity to help kids understand how to set realistic expectations regarding what kind of gifts to expect and other holiday activities.
- Take care of yourself. All of my parenting articles end with this one suggestion. It’s important to look after yourself. If you are burnt out, under too much stress, or expecting too much from yourself or your kids, no one will have fun during the festivals. So take a pause, look after yourself and that will help in spreading the festive cheer more positively.
In the end, just maintain perspective and focus on the larger things; after all, the festive season is here to spread happiness and we don’t want to stress ourselves and our families. This is also a temporary period and not permanent; so remember that as you choose your battles.
Here is wishing all of you a very happy & joyous festive season ahead. We really do need this one!