‘Tis the Season. The holidays can be a magical time full of sparkling lights, tasty treats, and traditions – but for parents, they can also be a time of overbooked schedules, overtired kids and overblown expectations. This year don’t just survive the holidays. Follow these helpful tips from the folks at the YMCA of the Blue Water Area to make holiday stress a thing of the past. Focus on what is important Ask yourself what is most important. If the kids are old enough, have them help you identify a few top priorities for the holidays. There are a ton of great events in the Blue Water Area in addition to spending time with family and enjoying traditions. Clarifying your priorities will help you, and the kids, get a handle on the overload. Set Limits Between overly enthusiastic relatives, expensive wish lists, and The Elf on the Shelf it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. Before you commit to another holiday party or sign up for the work, ask yourself why. Why are you doing it? Do your kids need an elaborate Elf on the Shelf display? Does your holiday light display need to be worthy of the Great American Light Fight? Step away from Pinterest, remember your priorities and don’t be afraid to say no. You cannot please everyone and overbooking yourself, and your family will only lead to a holiday meltdown. Take the focus off the presents Here are some great strategies to help tame “toy lust” and take the focus off gifts. Some parents take the “want, need, wear, read” approach while others stick with a limited number of presents or a limited budget. Regardless of your gift-giving strategy, remember that the holidays aren’t just about gifts. Have a conversation with your kids about holiday expectations and find ways to involve them in the spirit of giving. Make presents for relatives or teachers, sponsor a child in our area or volunteer. Take Care of Yourself Don’t forget to take care of yourself. Make sure that you’re eating healthy meals, getting enough sleep and making time to exercise or relax. Accept Help Say “yes” to help or seek out help. Let a relative, friend, or neighbor watch the kids while you finish your holiday shopping or drop your child off at the Y for our upcoming Broadway Beginnings Sparks Camp. Page 2 of 2 We know that not everyone has a lot of time off around the holidays, so the Y also offers holiday break camps to help you manage childcare during school district breaks.