Holidays with Kids Limit Stress

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Holidays with Kids | How about a stress-free day? Holidays with kids do not need to cause additional stress! Learn how to minimize the drama and enjoy the day. In this podcast, Felice shares her twenty-plus years of hosting holiday events for her family, extended family, and friends. Preparation is the key. | #podcast #homeschoolpodcast #holidaywithkidsHolidays with Kids – Limit The Stress! Episode 480

How about a stress-free day? Holidays with kids do not need to cause additional stress! Learn how to minimize the drama and enjoy the day. In this podcast, Felice shares her twenty-plus years of hosting holiday events for her family, extended family, and friends. Preparation is the key.

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Holidays and stress go hand-in-hand but not when you follow these handy tips for holidays with kids. After five children, eight grandchildren, and a total of twenty or more kids under sixteen for family celebrations I can say, I have some experience! With these tried and true methods, you can host holidays, attend holiday parties and enjoy the holidays with kids! In years past I stressed over hosting the holidays because I felt that my yard was dangerous for little children. We had a large tree house at one time, a slide across, a pool, a pond out front, and a long driveway that lead to a private road, but people still speed. Who was going to watch the children? Did we have enough hands on deck to monitor the pond and the pool (one was out back and the other out front), and what was I going to serve that would not make a huge mess? (Note to self: no chocolate cake!)

Holidays with Kids begin with a plan:

First, make a plan. This is like planning any other event.

  1. What is the event date?
  2. What time will people arrive and leave?
  3. What will you serve?
  4. Will you ask people to bring a dish to share? If so, what?
  5. Will you prep ahead? What?

These are the five things I look at before I begin planning an event. When I have a holiday with multiple children the list continues with these things:

  1. How many children and what are their ages?
  2. Who will monitor kids under five? Assign people to this task.
  3. What activities will I have for the children?
  4. What cups would I use that would minimize spills? (Also labels for the cups)
  5. What foods and desserts would I serve that would minimize the mess?

You will be surprised, or perhaps not surprised to learn that I started elaborately and through the years cut down and used shortcuts. For example as far as crafts and activities? I focused on the holiday we were celebrating and had crafts that went along with the holiday. So, decorations or table settings with a holiday theme. The kids could go to their particular table and get started when they walked in. I also made or ordered a tray of chicken nuggets which was a kid’s favorite. As my son said, kids do not like most holiday foods and he is correct. I kept rolls on hand that are easy to serve and most kid desserts focused on something with ice cream, such as an oreo cake (recipe below) or cookies. More elaborate adult desserts such as cheesecake are often not preferred by kids.

Oreo Cake: (Or your favorite wafer cookie)

Ingredients: Cookies, ice cream, chocolate sauce, cool whip

Depending on how much you want to make, you can double this recipe. Use two large packages of cookies and one large tub (the type that comes in those plastic containers with lids)

Crush one large package of Oreos or similar cookies. Set aside. One large container of chocolate swirl ice cream.

Use a springform pan without a center tube, so it is easy to unmold. Use enough crushed cookies (approx. 3/4 cup) with 4 tablespoons of melted butter and mix. Layer this on the bottom and pat firmly in your springform pan and bake at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes. Allow to cool. Layer ice cream, chocolate sauce or syrup, and cookies until you reach the top. The top can either have ice cream as your final layer or cookies. Work quickly or you will have a melted mess! Place on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper and place into the freezer at least overnight or for 12 hours or until firm. Unmold and place on a plate that can be put into the freezer. “Frost” with Cool Whip and freeze again. Take this out at least five-ten minutes before serving. If you live in a hot climate, five minutes is sufficient. Cut into wedges and serve.

My favorite activity for kids are ones that take them outdoors if at all possible. Simple things such as inflated balloons they can play with are fun. We play all types of games such as who can keep them up in the air the longest. Helium tanks are often affordable and last quite some time to inflate balloons not only for decorations but for the kids to play with. Paper airplanes are another fun activity that get the kids up and moving. You can use a sheet of paper with simple directions found online. I’ve used plastic grocery bags tied with string or yarn to make simple kites for the kids on a windy day. If you have sidewalks, get out the sidewalk chalk.

Once again planning is key. The great thing about kids is that even if this is a repeat activity they are on board. Anything is fun in a small or large group and especially when the parents get involved. One year my teens and young adults asked for airsoft, and the kids and the adults had a blast. I made sure to get clear goggles for eye safety, and a big bucket of refills. We still have them and the refills are on order for this year’s upcoming holidays.

Card games are fun as are large 1000-piece puzzle sets. This summer my daughter brought puzzles to the condo where we stayed and the kids and adults had so much fun putting them together. Another family favorite is chess games. The winner keeps playing! These are so much better than video games, which are loud and typically cause fighting. Have you seen this as well in your family or homes? It seems the kids get so frustrated when playing and losing so I’ve never been a fan!

The overall consensus is kid-friendly foods, desserts, and games and activities will go a long way toward making memories as you celebrate the holidays with kids!

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