I was back on The Morning Show on Global to discuss surviving the holiday season with kids. It was lots of fun because this time we followed a different format than the usual roundtable discussion. We had a moderator, some questions posed and me as the “expert” providing advice, based on my suggestions on the topic. Fun!
Take a look at the full video below and let me know what you think.
VIDEO: How to Survive the Holidays With Kids – The Morning Show on Global Television
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While the holidays are a festive time of year, they’re also a time of great stress for parents. There are presents to be bought, friends and family to entertain and money to be spent. And let’s not forget the cooking, the cleaning and general tasks that are expected. The festive season, not surprisingly, can be one that causes anxiety for many of us who are trying to balance parenting along with all of the other responsibilities and expectations that come along in December.
The good news is that there are ways for parents to alleviate the stresses that are a very real part of the holidays. By following the tips below, you can survive the festive season with the kids – and even enjoy them as well.
Following are tips on How to Survive the Holidays With Kids: Top 5 Tips For Parents
1) Set the Stage – You’re the role model and your behavior is what your children will model, so lead by example. If they see you stressed out, they’ll feed on that and the tension in the house will explode. If the kids see that you’re calm, cool, controlled and reasonably stress-free, their attitude and actions will follow. Like anything, kids take their cues from us so show them that you’ve got everything under control and they’ll follow suit.
2) Manage Expectations – With holiday ads for various toys and games starting right after Halloween, it’s no surprise that many kids are chomping at the bit for what they think with be a Christmas morning extravaganza of unparalleled proportions. Visions of sugarplums may be dancing in their heads, but so are visions of the latest video games, must-have toy and more. The expectations of a full bounty of gifts is one of the most stressful parts of the season, particularly for parents who are on a tight budget. Accordingly, now’s the time to set things straight, and to let the kids know that they will indeed receive gifts, but within reason. This includes the gifts that they will be receiving from Santa Claus. Giving your children a full accounting of the specific details of your finances is not necessary. What is necessary is letting them know a) that you love them and b) the true spirit of Christmas is about family, love and kindness – all of which don’t have a dollar value.
3) Get Help – Cooking, cleaning and shopping on top of your regular parenting and household duties is too much for anyone to bear. You’re only one person and can only do so much, so be realistic and give yourself a break. Get help wherever possible. Is Grandma anxious to see the kids again? No problem – drop them off and use the time to get some of your holiday errands done. Has your kindly neighbor offered to watch the kids or to host a playdate at their home? Take them up on their offer, guilt free, and use the time to get caught up on your to-do list. Now’s the time to take up friends and family on their offers of support.
4) Have a Game Plan – Every parent knows that a bored child is a whiny child. For this reason alone, it’s especially important to have a plan of action where your kids are involved this holiday season. With many schools closing early and not opening up until after the new year, you’ll have your hands full with the little ones, particularly if they’re not occupied. Have activities for your kids planned in advance in order to keep them busy. These can include playdates with other kids, movie and game nights with the family, and day trips within your city. The great thing about this time of year is that there are many inexpensive family-friendly activities that are happening around town – the perfect distraction for children who are complaining about not having anything to do.
5) Relax the Rules – Sure, bedtime is usually 8pm for your little ones but they want to stay up late to watch one last Christmas movie. Or, in another scenario your good friends and their kids have dropped by for a holiday visit and they’re still visiting well after 8pm. The little ones are having a good time and so are you, so relax and let them stay up late this one time. The world will keep turning and your stress level will be considerably reduced. It’s okay ignore the regular schedule of everyday life during this time of the year. When the season passes you can get the kids back to their regular routines.
How do you survive the holiday season with kids? Leave me your thoughts in the comments below.
VIDEO: How to Survive The Holidays With Kids – Global Morning Show
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The book is a compilation of my best tips and advice that I’ve provided on this blog, since I started writing in 2011. Since that time, I’ve committed countless hours putting together practical and simple “Top 10″ and Top 5″ type posts of easily digestible tips for frazzled parents who, like myself, need quick relief from the stresses of parenting. What has become a staple of this blog – realistic, common sense advice that any parent can follow – is now available as a must-read digital handbook.
The eBook is broken down into easily-referenced categories for those moments when you need answers quick, and time is of the essence. Included in the collection are posts related to Food, Travel, The Holidays, Home, School and Education, Money, Humor and many more. Heck – there’s even a chapter called “Everything But the Kitchen Sink” which is just that: parenting advice for all of the many scenarios that we encounter in our daily roles as moms and dads.
Whether it’s for yourself to keep on hand for quick reference the next time your child is actually having a meltdown in aisle 5, or for a new or frazzled mom or dad who needs to know how to deal with playdates, sleepovers or just plain whining, this eBook has all the answers, workable tactics and more. For only $3.99, the collection makes a great gift to yourself (you deserve it, after all) or for a friend or family member who’s in need of some support.
Available in Amazon’s Kindle store, the great thing is that you don’t actually need a Kindle reader to read this or any other Kindle edition of an eBook. Amazon’s made it easy: on the site, just download the free Kindle app to your computer, iPad, or other mobile device and you’re good to go!
Are you ready? Click on the image below to get your copy today!
My daughter has been reading a book at school that she’s really enjoying. Of course as a parent, I think this is a great thing because reading is so important. For this reason, I was thrilled when she told me that she wanted to take the book out of the library to reread the chapters that were covered in class.
“No problem,” I said. “Let’s look it up online and see if there’s a copy available at our local library.”
In the course of the discussion, and while quickly surfing to acquire the information, I asked my daughter a simple question:
“Do you know what the Dewey Decimal System is?”
“No,” she replied.
I can’t say that I was surprised; after all – we are living in a technological age where digital is the norm; everything else is considered substandard or worse, suspect.
I pressed on.
“When I was a kid and I wanted a book, I marched down to the library and looked it up using the Dewey Decimal System. That meant going through stacks of cardboard index cards filled with numbers to find the treasured book.”
She looked at me blankly.
I continued on and explained how the system worked; how part of the thrill of finding that special book was in the hunt. It’s always better when you seek and then find. It’s through the process of doing so that we savour the moment so much more when we do get our hands on that special item, in this case a book.
My daughter wasn’t having any of it.
Continuing to gaze at me blankly, she said “Oh. So you didn’t just go online and find the book by Googling it?”
Quickly realizing that this was a “Teachable Moment,” I harkened back to my youth and extolled the virtues of the now-archaic seeming system.
The process. The hunt. The patience. The find. They were all part and parcel of the experience which made the final acquisition of our desired object so much sweeter. The Dewey Decimal System was a big part of the experience. And yet so many kids these days have no idea about what the system is all about. Ask any child aged five through teens and I’d bet you that the majority of them have never heard of the system either, or if they have, their understanding is vague and incomplete, to say the least.
I remember as a child, going to the library, pulling out the cardboard index cards and venturing into the stacks to find my books. There was no online resource to find out if the book was available. No, just quaint cardboard cards that held the riddle of the sphinx and more within a mere 3 x 5 space.
The Dewey Decimal System was what led me to learn about World Wars I and II, Anne Frank, the fate of Icarus and the Space Race. By trolling through the index cards, I discovered the reason why penguins cannot fly and why insects have compound eyes. The diversity of my questions and curiosity was only matched by the volume of information to be found at the library – through the assistance of the Dewey Decimal System, of course.
“The Dewey Decimal System was what led me to learn about World Wars I and II, Anne Frank, the fate of Icarus and The Space Race”
As much as the system was a practical solution to finding books, it taught us so many other skills as well. Simple filing skills, research techniques, knowing where and how to find a particular item through a deductive method and process: these are just some of the aspects of the system that have been lost with its decline. For those of us who grew up with no other option than to consult the index file cards then march through the stacks in search of a book, the newer methodology seems lacking in ways. The thrill of the hunt has effectively disappeared due to the ease and lightening speed of Google. The adage “good things come to those who wait” was much easier to believe before the invention of high-speed, broadband Internet. Growing up in the digital age has indeed afforded our children so many more options in terms of access to information and the ability to quickly acquire data and knowledge almost instantaneously. Unfortunately, life as a child today also means that the library experience consists of a quick online search to find a book with little thought given to the process of acquiring the desired item.
Is the book any less enjoyable because it was effortlessly found? I would argue “yes” as there is something about the anticipation, the wait, the search and the find that positively adds to the overall experience of reading a particular book. Children today are missing out on what was one of the most gratifying parts of the library experience. Sure – it was “work” and kids had to earn their reward of finding a book by using a set of skills that were finely honed, if they were of a particularly bookish nature. But “work” in this instance lead to something valuable, something enjoyable and something much desired, perhaps more so because of the effort involved.
Kids today really don’t know what they’re missing. The experience of going to the library these days is just not what it used to be. In some ways, it’s certainly more engaging, with computers and interactive learning a large part of most modern library systems. That said, the quaint efficacy provided by the Dewey Decimal System through simple index cards cannot be replaced. Accordingly, while technology has opened up many new doors for our children, another world – equally enjoyable – has been lost.
I make this pizza often because I got tired of paying $30 or more for a pizza or two to be delivered that wasn’t that much better than my own. Let’s face it: when you have little kids, they’re not that picky when it comes to this childhood favorite. They don’t really care about a “gourmet” pizza experience. They just want the basics: a good crust, lots of mozzarella and maybe some pepperoni, if we’re lucky. I figured out quickly that I could deliver – just like the pizza man – at a quarter of the cost.
First off, let me say that this post won’t be like the typical food posts that you see at so many other blogs that focus on food and cooking. As you know, this blog focuses on Parenting, so this post will be in that context. In other words, the really pretty pictures of food, ingredients and fabulous meals being created step-by-step won’t be found here!
If you’re a frazzled parent, or if you don’t have kids but don’t want to pay for an expensive delivery pizza that’s not that good, and think you can do just as well (or better) yourself, you’ve come to the right place.
I’ll start with the end result. Here it is:
Here are the ingredients (please note that these are approximations – increase or decrease, depending on your preference):
Preheat oven to 400 degrees
2 cups of flour
1-1.5 cups of warm water
1 packet of quick rise yeast (8 grams or 2.5 teaspoons)
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1/2 teaspoon of salt
Optional for dough: dried oregano, thyme or rosemary
Optional for bottom of crust: cornmeal
3/4 of 22 ounce can of your favorite pizza or spaghetti sauce
2-3 cups of grated mozzarella
Pepperoni – as much as you’d like
Additional toppings – mushrooms, peppers, tomatoes, etc.
Combine the flour, yeast and salt in a bowl
Slowly pour in water and oil while mixing – you may want to use a spatula or wooden spoon for this
Keep stirring while adding wet ingredients until done
Pour additional flour over mixture if it’s too wet or sticky
Transfer dough to a floured surface and lightly knead for 5 minutes
If using cornmeal, sprinkle onto pizza pan
Spread pizza dough onto pizza pan – if using conventional round pan, you can get two pizzas out of this dough; I usually use an 18″ X 13″ pan (shown in the picture) for one big, rectangular pizza
Spread pizza/spaghetti sauce over dough
Spread mozzarella on top of sauce, then cover with toppings
Bake for 20-25 minutes or until mozzarella is melted and browned
That’s it! I use this recipe often and can have the pizza, including dough preparation and cooking, done and cleaned up within 45 minutes. Not bad for a meal that kids love.
**TIP** Get your kids in the kitchen to help you – they’ll have a blast preparing this simple dish and will be thrilled about eating their “creation!”
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