Ideas for happy holidays

The holidays can be a stressful time for families, especially because the Christmas season can represent additional commitments and financial obligations for many of us.

Today I'm suggesting some practical ideas to inform holiday planning that should keep everyone on an even keel and enjoying their break which keeps everyone's wellbeing in mind.

1. For the most part try to keep routines similar, especially for smaller children. If children are used to having a regular bedtime, all of a sudden being allowed to frequently stay up late can be very unsettling. Likewise, try to keep luxurious sleep-ins for the weekend and keep a regular sleep cycle.

2. Work together with your children's school friends, trade play dates. Agree to kiss and drop and stick to it. Give yourself a breather and return the favour, your kids will enjoy being able to see their friends too.

3. Consider what you might need to prepare or do so your children have a comfortable and useable space outdoors, so they can play outside. Easy alterations such as temporary shade tents or marques, water tables and outdoor furniture can be packed away again during the term.

4. Don't be afraid to communicate to your children what you need. Parents are people too and it's okay children know that sometimes we need five minutes peace or that we're feeling stressed. Respectfully communicating our stress can be a great way to avoid arguments where neither party is sure where the other is coming from.

5. Manage expectations - it can be hard when you want to please everyone in your family and attend all social gatherings but if you are stretched too thin sometimes it is best to be honest and open about what you need, sometimes everyone needs to recharge.

We're all in this together - all parents want their kids to have happy, healthy holidays. Let's remember we have the benefit of a vibrant and caring community and pull together to support one another this Christmas.