I love the holidays. The whole of December is one big party that tapers slowly between Christmas and New Years.
Then, with any luck, we can get the kids tucked away in bed on New Year's Eve, collapse onto the couch in front of a movie or two, until Auld Lang Syne reassures us that life is about to return to normal.
I'm a big believer in routine. The holidays definitely throw our schedule for a loop and it always gets me wondering, "Do I wish I had those kids that go with the flow and are happy to pass out on a friend's sofa somewhere around 10pm?"
While I don’t mind throwing caution to the wind for special occasions, the answer is still “No.” Sure we might have to excuse ourselves from Thanksgiving dinner before the meltdowns start, and we miss the entertaining conversation that springs from Aunt Jane having one glass too many, but I like our routine. We roll with it when we can, but if we have to call it a night at 7, I know there are at least 340 days of the year when I'm glad the kids have a predictable schedule.
Nanny Carrie's 3 Simple Tips for Sticking with Routine through the Holidays
1) Start small so you don't get overwhelmed. If your schedule is all over the map, start with one or two routines and work the rest of your day around it. For example, have bath time always start at 7pm - no matter where you are. Or, always plan to be home for afternoon naps.
2) Expect the unexpected. Throw some jammies in the car for family gatherings that run later than planned. That way you can get everybody ready for bed before the long drive home and save a battle with overtired little ones. (Don't forget the nighttime diapers! Disassembling wet car seats for washing in the dead of winter is not fun.)
3) Late dinner at a restaurant? Pack a lunch bag with some healthy snacks for the kids to eat while you wait for your order. (Hint: This is a great time to break out the fruits and veggies that they're more likely to eat when they're bored and starving. Then you can cross mama-guilt off your list when the rest of their dinner consists of french fries and ice cream sundaes!)
Do you prefer a structured day, or a more flexible schedule over the holidays? What works best for you?