Are you dreading this Holiday season? Are you concerned the In’Laws are coming or the fact that your Spouse turns into a nightmare for a month while getting ready for all of the parties you are hosting or going to? Recently, Jody Stahancyk, a prominent Divorce lawyer joined Todd and Kent in the studio to talk about ways to make the Holidays much more fun. She said we could share her notes with all of you. To listen tot he entire episode, click here.
1.Human’s crave predictability regardless of our age.
2.Everyone from the youngest of us to the oldest wish to have, or at least perceive we have, control over our situation, person, and effect on others.
3.Holidays are about passing down to our children traditions from our past and making new traditions to add to the bouquet of our lives.
1. Holidays can be child unfriendly.
A.No recognition of their interests, age, or ability to want to add.
2. Thanksgiving can become a vision in our mind that becomes an emotional minefield for your children.
A. Children pick up emotion, don’t understand it, and assume they are at fault.
3.Thanksgiving can be seen as something to endure, not treasure.
HOW TO MAKE YOUR THANKSGIVING MEMORABLE:
1.Get your children involved.
A. Discuss why we celebrate Thanksgiving.
B. Help your children to make place cards, i.e. “Turkey Hands.”
C. Use Thanksgiving as a time to do a simple family tree and explain how everyone invited is related by blood, friendship, or otherwise. We often assume children understand relationships, but “Uncle Bob is my brother just like David is your brother” may not have yet sunk in. For older children tell them a funny (but repeatable or memorable) story about each guest and then suggest they ask the person about it. It is a great way to get multigenerational conversations going.
D. Ask your children if they can think of anyone to invite who may not be included elsewhere! Thanksgiving is a time of inclusion not exclusion.
E. If you are not celebrating a traditional Thanksgiving, volunteer. Find some kind of outreach. That can become a wonderful tradition.
DURING THE THANKSGIVING EVENT:
1.Introduce your children. If your guests are so gauche not to get down to your child’s eve level, pick up your child and put them at the adult’s eye level. Put your child in context for the guests just you would adults. “John is almost three and attends Oregon Trail Montessori on Broadway. He is very knowledgeable about transformers and a wiz at Legos.” Then tell your child about the guest. Remember that you have already explained to your child, but the guest will not know that; they will just be pleased your child is interested in them.
2. Be aware of your child at all times. Are they alone, looking afraid, lonely? Stewardship will make the difference between a great memory, and a willingness to return, or a desire to never do that again. I think of each of my guests as I would if I were having my boss at my party. I am aware of them and try to make each one’s experience memorable.
3. Run interference for your child. Some people forget a three-year-old at a boring table, with food they don’t like and conversation over their head, is as much fun as a grown up playing a three-hour game of Hide and Seek or Candyland.
A. Watch their intake of caffeine just as you would watch Grannie’s intake of vodka – the results are the same.
B. Put some peanuts in a bag in your pocket and give to the kids. They are a natural protein and can keep a child calmer and less frantic when the turkey is slow.
C. Take them for a walk.
D. Don’t make them eat food they don’t like.
1. Good traditions are things we can expect, are positive, and need not be extravagant. They are, however, out of the ordinary.
2. Make formal dinner parties tolerable to a child – to all of us. My home has a tradition called “Shoot the Chandelier.” Party poppers are always at each place and the person sitting at the table that shoots the confetti and gets it to stick at the highest part of the chandelier gets a prize. Sometimes we will leave the chandelier decorated for a party or two. Children line up to sit at my formal table.
3. The oldest lights the candles and the youngest blows them out.
4. Everyone tells what they are thankful for.
5. The host tells why we eat what we eat – the traditions of the dishes.
6. We toast the turkey.
7. Football pools.
8. We dance and the children get a dime a dance from every older person they dance with.
9. We all wash dishes together and sing silly songs.