047: Stop the Holiday Insanity, Part 3 – The 3 Best Gifts You Can Give Your Kids

Today, we finish up our three-part series about the three best gifts you can give your children; we also finish out the year, so best wishes for 2016 to you and your family!

In December’s Just You and Me episodes, we’ve been Stopping the Holiday Insanity by focusing on gifts we can give our children, one episode per gift.

The first two, Your Time and Ritual/Routine, help make family life run more smoothly and also bring lots of enjoyment – to both you and your kids.

Today’s gift, though, does more than bring enjoyment and a smooth schedule.

Today’s gift, Gratitude, could be the most elusive – but it could also be the most important one.

Starting in early January 2015, I write down (if I can’t write that day because of tendon issues, I say out loud) five things I’m grateful for each night before I go to bed. It doesn’t seem like much, I know, but it’s one of the most important micro-changes I made this year; these tiny changes have made a huge positive impact on my health. It’s as if focusing on what I’m grateful for shows me all the good things in my life! In fact in today’s episode I read from a favorite book of mine, The Slight Edge, about a happiness researcher named Sean Achor and the impact of gratitude that Sean has found in his research (if you want to see a great Ted talk, here is Sean’s… you’ll laugh and learn all the same time.)

I want to share something I’m so grateful for, which is… You.

The joy of connecting with you, helping you worry less and enjoy more in your parenting, well, all that’s helping me! 2015 has been a tumultuous year – the year in which I got to ski in Colorado, for the first time since spending the winter of 2011 unable to walk more than a few steps, and not only did I ski but I skied with my parents and my children. It was the year in which we adopted dogs, and five weeks later needed to give them up because I had a relapse in my tendon condition; the year in which I won the first story slam I ever entered; the year in which Ben helped me get this podcast off the ground (and the year in which I conceived of it in the first place.)

A year full of ups and downs. But one of the biggest ups is the way that this podcast was received; when you contact me by email, or instagram, or Facebook or twitter to ask a question or say thanks, that’s when I feel the most gratitude.

Thank you SO much for listening, commenting, questioning – I look forward to lots more of all the above in the new year.

Here’s to a great 2016!

044: Stop the Holiday Insanity, Part 2 – The 3 Best Gifts You Can Give Your Kids

In today’s Just You and Me episode, we jump into the second of the three best gifts you can give your kids

In the previous Stop the Holiday Insanity episode, 41 (click here to listen), we talked about Time. Today in this second installment of Stop The Holiday Insanity we discuss the second of these three best gifts: Ritual.

Growing up, every year around December 1 my Mom got out wrapping paper, scissors, ribbons, and tape and we would make a chain that functioned as our Advent calendar. It’s such a thrill to share that ritual now, with my boys. Even though they’re 15 and 11 years old, they look forward to the day we make our Christmas chain.

There are other such rituals in our holiday celebrations – Christmas eve dinner, for example, which is always French onion soup and a delicious French-Canadian meat pie called tourtiere, with cookies for dessert. I think ritual is one of the most important gifts you can give your children.

In good times, rituals are what bring us together and help us feel as if were part of something bigger than ourselves.

Involving the kids in our holiday rituals from an early age has so many benefits for them! It exposes them to the traditional foods of our cultures, and as they grow it becomes something they can remember from times past and also look forward to in the future.

Plus, if there have been major changes since last holiday season (like a divorce or loss of a loved one) predictable and comfortable routines over time help kids get through the tough stuff.

Also, they can see their own growth and development. Something that was hard for them to do last year, and it easier to do this year, shows kids their own mastery or competence.

So in thinking about these first two gifts we can give our kids – Time and Ritual – what are some simple teens and rituals you can start this year? What are some that you can keep going from previous years?

Thanks for listening, I hope your holiday season is less insane than those of holiday seasons past! Next week we have a great guest, someone I can’t wait for you to hear from, and then during the last week of December 3 great gift we can give our kids – the third and possibly best way to stop the holiday insanity – will air. Keep hanging in there!

Links Discussed in This Episode:

Here’s episode 39, an E-rated conversation with cartoonist and author Emily Flake… Please enjoy it with headphones, so you don’t upset children, coworkers, or relatives.

Click here to head to instagram, where you can be part of the giveaway to win Emily Flake’s new book Mama Tried: Dispatches from the Seamy Underbelly of Modern Parenting. The drawing is on Christmas day, so you still have some time to enter! To do so, just scroll down in my instagram feed until you find the picture of Emily’s book, leave me a comment under that picture, and tag a friend. Maybe you’ll week on Christmas morning to find an extra present for you!

If you’re enjoying the podcast and getting good value from my advice, but still feel like it’s not enough, or that you need advice more tailored to your situation, check out my Parent Coaching page.… I’ll help you worry less and enjoy more in your parenting.