Parents and Caregivers – Give the Gift of Love with Less Stress this Holiday Season
Parenting skills are beneficial to both you and your child. Start off the New Year being the best parent you can be and enroll in a free parenting at the Child and Parent Center, 606 Greenwood Place in Jackson. Workshops times and dates are to be announced. Free childcare is made available by trained volunteers and a free pizza dinner is provided thanks to community partner Little Caesars on Wildwood. Is transportation to classes a problem? We may be able to help. Call 517-788-4445 to register. We will keep you posted.
Parenting is a hard job in the best of circumstances and can be even more challenging during the holiday season. The best gifts you can give to your child are the gifts of love, patience and kindness. Remember that children aren’t born knowing how to deal with stress but learn how to do so by watching you. So, try to model a controlled schedule with the necessary intervals of rest for you and your family.
1) Set your priorities – you don’t have to do it all – Decide which activities and tasks are truly important and eliminate those that may cause too much stress on you and your children.
2) Stick with your child’s usual routines as much as you can – Well-rested, well-fed children are more cheerful and cooperative and stay healthier too.
3) Describe upcoming events to your child – Children do better when they know or have an idea on what to expect from a situation or activity.
4) Put yourself in your child’s shoes – Show understanding by imagining how your child is feeling during this busy, exciting, but often over stimulating time.
5) Enjoy daily downtime with your child – Spend some quiet one-on-one time playing, reading, and cuddling with your child each day.
6) Plan for fun – Try some simple and often free activities such as story time at the library, driving around and admiring holiday lights, walking in the snow after dark or making a simple craft project.
7) Stop comparing yourself to others and forget perfection – Perfection only exists in books and movies. Avoid pressuring yourself to keep up with appearances or to acquire possessions similar to what others may have.
8) Be organized and plan ahead for busy days – Make lists, record activities and tasks on a calendar, freeze extra dinners for days when you don’t have the time or energy to cook.
9) Have a sense of humor – When things don’t go as planned, roll with the punches. Try to find the humor in the situation – laughter can often be the best medicine.
10) Feeling overwhelmed? – Take a break, call a friend, cry, go for a walk, listen to soothing or upbeat music or try a warm bath.
11) Afraid you might hurt your child? – Put your child down in a safe place and take a “time-out” from the situation. Never, ever shake a baby! Being a parent or caregiver is one of the hardest jobs on earth – don’t ever be ashamed to seek help if you need it. We all need help once in a while.