“More Joy for Mama this Holiday Season” – Easy Ways to Decrease Stress & Build Resilience In Our Kids

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These are my notes for an upcoming Podcast magazine interview. This is Lacie’s brainchild with Mama Simpatico. This holiday edition is entitled: It’s entitled “More Joy for Mama this Holiday Season, and it is out Nov. 9th. Here is the link:  
A blue pixel art style picture of two hands shaking.
OK- Here is my brain dump:
 Studies show that when the holidays roll around, families feel more stressed. Research from the American Psychological Association found that getting ready for the holidays, meeting social expectations, and handling many responsibilities can make people feel more stressed, affecting how families get along and how each person feels.
In my work, I’ve seen how families that model executive functioning serve as powerful models of lifelong learning for their families. They navigate challenges and provide invaluable lessons for their children, especially during the holiday season—a time that often brings both joy and stress.
Executive functions are like the brain’s CEO, responsible for managing various cognitive processes that help us navigate daily life. From planning and organizing to controlling impulses, these functions play a crucial role in our ability to learn, work, and interact with the world.
I have met some incredible parents doing incredible things to gain organization. Remember the show called 18 and Counting, which was an American reality television show that aired until 2015? Duggar family and Michelle and Jim Bob Duggard organized their 19 children (nine daughters and ten sons).
I hope to offer a more relatable example of some of the strategies I have seen parents employ to a marked degree of success. To simplify things, I will use an avatar and call her Sarah.
Meet Sarah, a dynamic mother of two juggling a household, part-time employment, and the holiday chaos. Despite the season’s unpredictability, she has found ways to support her school-aged children’s executive functioning skills.
1. Time Management: Strategy: Create a visual schedule for holiday activities to increase awareness and reduce procrastination. Sarah’s Story: Sarah used a calendar posted in a family-centered place to outline holiday events, from decorating the tree to family gatherings. By involving her children in scheduling, they not only became more organized but also learned the importance of managing their time effectively.
2. Planning: Strategy: Break down larger holiday tasks into smaller, manageable steps for better planning. Sarah’s Story: When tasked with preparing for guests or organizing dinner, Sarah involved her children in the planning process. From making a shopping list to dividing cooking tasks, they learned to break down complex tasks into manageable parts, fostering their planning skills. Yes, it might be faster and less mess in the short term but the rewards are great
3. Critical Thinking: Strategy: Encourage problem-solving discussions during holiday activities to enhance critical thinking. Sarah’s Story: Sarah embraced the unexpected challenges of holiday preparations as opportunities for critical thinking. When faced with a last-minute change in plans, she engaged her children in brainstorming alternative solutions, fostering their ability to think independently.
4. Flexibility: Strategy: Teach the importance of adapting to changes during the holidays to enhance flexibility. Sarah’s Story: The holiday season can be full of surprises, and Sarah used these moments to teach her children the art of flexibility. Whether a sudden change in plans or a shift in the weather, adapting became a valuable skill they applied beyond the festive season.
5. Goal Setting: Strategy: Set achievable holiday goals with your children to instill a sense of accomplishment. Sarah’s Story: Sarah and her kids established realistic holiday goals, from completing a holiday craft to finishing a festive book. Celebrating these small victories empowered her children to set and achieve goals independently.
 Celebrating these small victories empowered her children to set and achieve goals independently. This holiday season, as you navigate the festivities, consider weaving these strategies into your family’s activities. By doing so, you not only support your children’s executive functioning skills but also create lasting memories of a joyous and well-managed holiday season.


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