We asked our experts for advice about ways to minimize stress and help everyone in the family feel as good as possible about this unusual holiday season.
1. Don’t wait to make plans
Give everyone time to make good decisions and get comfortable with them, especially if they represent a big change in family traditions.
2. Discuss house rules in advance
You need clear communication, maybe with everybody getting on a call beforehand and laying out who’s comfortable with what.
3. Stay the course
It can be helpful have a script to use if someone isn’t respecting the rules: “My mom says I’m not allowed to give you a hug this year but we can wave!”
4. Give the kids a voice
What would they like to cook?
What games do they want to play?
Do they want to set aside time for favorite movies or listen to special music?
Being part of that decision-making process helps offset some of those negative feelings.
5. Create a safe space to express disappointment
Things will be different this year, family and friends of all ages have expectations for the holiday, many of which will not happen and so create disappointments. Keeping everyone, including your kids in the conversation and letting them know they are heard, can help them feel respected even in situations that don’t go the way they want.