While children anxiously await school breaks, vacations, and gifts that come with the holidays, parents often writhe in anticipation of unavoidable chaos. We oftentimes help kids develop a “Chill Out” plan to manage stress; now is the time to create “Chill Out: Adult Edition”. The holidays are undoubtedly busy, but they do not have to be unbearably stressful. Here are some simple tips to help the entire family:

1. Discuss the holiday plans well in advance. Though parents are in charge of the ultimate decision-making, allow the kids to partake in the planning. Children do better when they know what to expect, and parents are able to remain calmer when plans are not being made last minute.

2. Traveling with kids is rarely fun. However, make the best of it with an abundant supply of snacks, games, and Holiday-themed playlists.

3. There is great commotion around the holidays; that does not mean it has to be chaotic. You do not need to make plans for every single day. Allow your kids to have downtime, or sleep in a little later than normal. When it comes time for holiday activities, they will be significantly more fun if everyone is well-rested.

4. This might be the first holiday season where a significant family member is missing. Uphold traditions; it can be grounding for kids to know that although some things have changed, other things remain the same. But don’t compensate for someone’s absence with extra gifts. Extra attention, affection, hugs, and kisses will do more good in the long run.

5. Take care of yourself. The holidays are not all about the kids. Treat yourself to a date night or a spa day. Go out with friends. Allow yourself a little relaxation. After all, it is your holiday too!