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What’s going on at Emmet County Extension?

November 7, 2014
by Britney Rosburg - ISU Extension Program Educator , Estherville News

During the holiday-preparation season, many people seem more strained, because they are suffering from overload. No doubt this pressure comes from wanting to give their families the best holiday ever. Isn't it ironic that what families most need is relaxation to enjoy the festivities together?

If tension is mounting at your house, you still can change the pattern to ease the pressure. Here are some helpful tips from Iowa State University Extension and Outreach family life specialists.

n Slow down and reconnect. Give your kids 10 minutes of your uninterrupted attention. When you get together at the end of the day, put everything on hold. Sit down with them and just listen to whatever they have to say. If you promised to look at a child's assignment, do it now. When kids know you're really with them and not thinking of other things, they'll enjoy a measure of comfort and satisfaction.

n Give kids a role. Think how you can include the children in the ongoing holiday preparations. If they feel they're really participating, they won't need to act up or whine for your attention. Perhaps they can help with gift-wrapping, decorating, baking, or addressing cards. You are training your children in a new skill that will contribute to their sense of competence. You'll also see your kids grow a foot in pride as they admire their accomplishments!

n Invite them to think of special gifts for the people on your list. Even little ones can be thoughtful and right on-target with some of their suggestions.

n Get them into the kitchen. Find a way to include your kids in cooking, especially when you take food to a bake sale or have guests coming. Preparing the food helps children feel that they can give to others along with you. They will probably be even more hospitable toward arriving guests.

n Observe the rule of two. Try to limit your social obligations to a maximum of two a week that take you away from the kids. They may tolerate your absence for two nights, but change it to three, and they may fall apart.

n Savor the upcoming traditions. Observe your family rituals, even if it means missing the neighbors' caroling party or a dinner with out-of-town friends. Take the time you need to enjoy the meaningful rites your kids look forward to all year.

Wishing you a happy Thanksgiving!



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