reduce the holiday overwhelm

Halloween is the kick-off to crazy season. The sugar- and wine-fueled chaos goes through New Year’s Eve and then the massive holiday hangover hits. The party invites, dinners out, wonky school schedules and travel can easily throw the best of sleepers into waking-during-the-night and bedtime tantrum territory.

First-hand experience in dealing with an overtired, over-sugared child has led me to a holiday attitude that I employ October 31st through January 1st. I just say no. Borrowing Nancy Reagan’s tagline when planning my family’s holidays has been so helpful-- and we want you to try it out too. All together now: Just Say No!

Before you accept any invitation during the month of December, first ask yourself: Do you WANT to do this? Do your kids? If the answer isn't HELL YES, then just say no. Make up a lovely excuse or flat-out lie but just. say. no.

Secondly, consider the timing of the event. Does it fall within a day or two of another one? If an event ends past bedtime and the other ones that week do too, skip one. Or two. If you know there’s a super special thing that you really want to do one evening, make sure bedtime and naps are consistent the few days before. And after that event, it's right back to the routine the next day/night.

If going to dinner at your aunt’s neighbor’s house is really not something you’re into and it always ends up being a late night, just say no. Offer a daytime visit instead. Worried about how friends and family will react to your polite declination to their annual ugly sweater party that you’ve NEVER missed before? Don’t be. You’ll be much happier waking up to well-rested children the next morning and won’t regret eggnog overconsumption. #bonus

Kids are happier when they get more sleep and adults definitely are too. If your child is a great sleeper, she can be more flexible when she has a late night or a skipped nap. But a few days and nights in a row of skipped sleep isn’t pleasant for anyone. Help your kiddo stay on the “good” list this year and make her sleep a priority. It’s the best gift you can give yourself this season.

OtherHadley Sewardother