How To Deck The Halls and Keep away from the Vacation Stress
In search of the “perfect vacation” we run into rags. The perfect present! The perfect meal! The perfect decorations! The perfect parties! The perfect kids! (Got a problem – just wanted to be careful!) How can you avoid vacation stress – especially when ADHD is involved?
When you add ADHD to vacation stress, you make dealing with a challenging situation even more difficult. So here’s my Christmas present for you: advice to make it a little easier – and a lot more fun!
Nothing says vacation mood like peaceful families and great communication! Try:
- Plan ahead. Make a list of the tasks to complete before your holidays (e.g. buying and wrapping gifts, getting party supplies, picking up Grandma’s favorite brand of oatmeal when she visits, etc.). Take a look at your calendar and assign yourself a few tasks each week. So you don’t have to do everything at once!
- Set expectations with your children. A lot of the holiday stress revolves around gifts – especially when children have their hearts for expensive iPhones or expensive toys! No matter what you’re celebrating, setting gift expectations is critical. One family I know celebrates Christmas and limits the number of gifts their children receive. Each gets three because that was the number of gifts the wise men brought to Jesus. Not only is this a symbol of their beliefs and traditions, but it creates clear expectations for everyone. If you observe Hanukkah, you may be able to discuss creative alternatives. For example, instead of receiving a gift one evening, you could choose to do something good for each other. Another evening you could give your community a gift (donation, volunteer time). Whatever you choose, if you speak explicitly about it as a family, the children will know what to expect.
Side note: This is also a great opportunity to talk budgeting with your kids. Many parents hesitate to discuss money with their children, but setting reasonable expectations will help you avoid vacation stress.
Try this: “Our budget for Christmas gifts is $ X. I would be happy if you could give me a list of things you would like to have. I also want you to know that this is the budget and it is not really negotiable. There will be a lot less stress here if we don’t break our budget! “
The holidays are actually a great opportunity to teach your children the reality of life – money doesn’t suddenly grow on trees in December! Plus, some spending restrictions will help you stay connected with the real meaning of the season!