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By Jae Curtis
When you have children, a ton of merrymaking can make for a ton of meltdowns—for parents and kids alike. And stressed, fatigued, overworked parents usually make the situation worse when they commit classic parenting fails that turn "Deck the Halls" into a chorus of "Go to your room!" Read on to figure out where you're going wrong, and you can quickly nip those blunders in the bud to actually, you know, enjoy the holidays with your family.
Taking On Too Much
Finding the perfect present gives you a department store rush, so it's understandable that you love grabbing gifts for your adorable kids. But from keeping track of your kids' gifts to wrapping them all and then making peace with your bank account later, going overboard in the gift department can make your holidays way too hectic. Instead, set a goal for each child ahead of time and stick to that number. Then, learn to be strong in the face of a good sale. Does your child really need another stuffed animal?
Overloading Your Schedule
If your calendar is about as decorated as a Christmas tree, you might have an issue with overscheduling yourself. Constantly shuffling tired, cranky kids from party to party and expecting that they be on their best behavior is a recipe for a total tantrum. Instead of saying "yes" to everything, pick a few things that really matter and decline the rest. Then, make sure you plan some downtime for your little ones. If they had to be on their best behavior at Grandma's, take them to the indoor playground to help release some of those pent-up wiggles.
Sure, missing out on the Advent calendar one year might not seem like a huge deal to you, but when your kids look forward to it for 11 months of the year, it could be devastating. Think carefully before you cut a long-held tradition from the to-do list. Instead of doing away with it altogether to save on stress, consider a pared-down version. No, you don't have time to make a Christmas cookie Advent calendar, but your kids might be just as happy with the cheap chocolate ones from the drugstore instead.
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Not Prepping Your Kids
Some parents check off their crazy to-do lists like it's a rite of holiday passage, but you don't need to spend the month of December in a perpetual state of chaos. By simplifying in a big way and taking a "Do I really need this?" approach to all holiday activities, you can dwell on what's really important this holiday season: your family ... and chocolate. Lots and lots of chocolate.
Need some games for your kids to shake off all that holiday stress? Check out these 10 indoor activities to break up the holiday rush.