7 tips to surviving the holiday vacation with small children

Christmas break has begun! Two weeks of pure Christmas bliss. Er, something like that. I expect happiness and tears. Lots of both to be exact. {Maybe from small people and big people!} Here’s how we plan on surviving.

  1. Schedules. Following our normal nap time and bedtime schedules. This is a pretty important key to survival. We can’t create new routines, because it’ll be ridiculous to break that routine when it’s time to go back to work and school. They say it takes 21 days to make a routine habit. For kids it’s accelerated. It takes once. ONE TIME.
  2. Naps. This is more of a parental wish than a way to survive. Apparently four-year-olds only take naps at daycare, so we’ll see how we do with this. We both know it’s the core element of survival, but we’re going to have to be creative about convincing him to do it. And don’t suggest “quiet time.” We’ve been rocking that label for a long time and it doesn’t feel quiet or relaxing. Every two minutes he’s in the living room asking if he can get up yet and promising that he closed his eyes and slept.
  3. Patience. This is just as much for us as it is for them. Neither of them have a lot of patience for the other. When you’re two you don’t have a lot of understanding about sharing and patience. Patience for other humans or patience for toys that just.won’t.go{and stay}.together. The same is true for the four-year-old, except it’s more about having patience with us. He doesn’t understand that we can’t always do something right.this.minute.
  4. Fun. Hopefully Maximus will end a few of the days by saying “we did something fun today!” We’re a little over the phase that we aren’t ever doing anything fun. It turns out there’s a pretty high bar set for four-year-olds. And when we don’t go do something fun, hopefully we have fun around the house. It’s pretty easy to make a four-year-old and two-year-old laugh. We need to remember to do that more. There’s a lot of {little people} fighting and crying in our house so it gets pretty tense and non-fun.
  5. Plans.  We need to have a plan for each day. We may have a few lazy days here and there, but the key to making it through the next two weeks – plans and entertainment. I know we’d both like to accomplish some projects around the house so we feel like we used the “downtime” to get some things done that we wouldn’t normally have time to do. It’s just as much about setting reasonable expectations. We have two extra “helpers” who make things take twice as long.
  6. Us time. We’d both like to start the new year by having some adult time. Going to a movie or out to eat. Being parents is the most draining thing I’ve ever done and it never ends. {It’s the best and worst mixed together!} A few hours away can be so refreshing and uplifting for the spirit.
  7. Exercise and healthy eating. I’ve spent the past few months trying really hard to incorporate exercise into my daily routine. It’s pretty crucial for the next two weeks. We could easily lose our exercise routines and fall into a rhythm of not working out. Since we’ll be off our normal schedules, we may not feel as active as we are during a regular week. With the holiday treats, I want to try to stick close to our clean eating plan. I know there will be lots of sweets, but I hope there are lots of vegetables also! Maybe I’ll even decide to do a freezer day and pre-cook some meals to help future me out a little!

We are so blessed to have time off between Christmas and New Years. We were fortunate this year to have some vacation days to use up so that means extra time spent with our little guys. The days are long but weeks are short. My hope is that this plan will help us soak up every happy minute and keep the tears at bay a little longer.

How are you going to stay sane this holiday break?

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