Guest Post – Ashely Blodgett – How To Get Your Kids Involved In The Holidays Frenzy

Today we have Ashley from Anything Or Everything From Ashley.

Sometimes we need a little helping getting through the holidays with our kids, sometimes we want our kids to be more engage. Get into the spirt. Anything Or Everything From Ashley has an awesome tips and tricks to making all holidays family holidays.

For most people, the holidays can be crazy. Holidays with small children can sometimes be worse. Decorating, shopping, multiple family functions, black Friday, and kids being stuck inside, can lead to a very stressful time. No one wants the majority of the holidays to be made up of yelling and fighting.  In this list I will show you how to enjoy your holiday season while also having multiple young children in your home.
1. Thanksgiving
When you spend so much time prepping for thanksgiving, plus having your normal daily busy work to do, eventually something gives. The clothes you kids show up in are beautiful, but you realized you forgot to brush your own hair. You have a gorgeous display of food to take to your mothers, but your kitchen looks like a war zone. If your family is anything like  mine, the rooms look like you threw an entire wardrobe of “this no longer fits” on your kids beds.  Your clean it up later right?
The answer- Pick outfits the day before, and Involve your kids. Let them be your helpers in the kitchen. The toddlers can be in charge of throwing the garbage away, the small children can handle getting your ingredients  to and from the fridge and cabinet, and the older kids can even help you prep the food. When there is no job for them to do, have them sit and watch so they are out of your way. They will enjoy being able to help, and you can concentrate on your cooking skills. The time you would of spend trying in vain to clean up, you can use to brush your hair.
2. Black Friday Shopping
Yes, the Friday right after thanksgiving for some. The day you would of spent cleaning the house from the thanksgiving mess you left, is now reserved for  having to run around first thing in the morning to all the stores that house exactly what little suzie insisted she wanted for Christmas. The gift that will light her eyes as she opens it, is also the thing that caused you to shove the woman who held the last one. You don’t want to be rude, but hey, you have already been to three sold out stores already.
I know what you are thinking. There is no way a child can help with black Friday shopping. That just isn’t true. All the catalogs you get around that time showing you all the deals they are having, are great ways to get them involved. Give them to the kids. Have them circle what they want. You don’t have to look through each one to figure out what you want, and you know they will like what you get them. That will save you a lot of time looking through ads. You will be surprised at how much time they will save you.
3.Indoor Christmas decorating
This is when you bring the totes down from the attic and the kids can’t wait to dig in to what is inside. This includes fighting over your great grandmothers nativity scene, and wanting to throw the Christmas balls at each other. This makes us want to put them all up during nap time, or after the kids go to bed.
Let them help. Separate the glass from the kid-friendly decorations. This will let them dig through the tote without you worrying what they are messing with. They have fond memories of helping mommy, and you get a stress free Christmas decorating experience. If they don’t put things where you want them then don’t worry, you can rearrange it later.
4. Christmas tree decorating
Kids LOVE to decorate the tree, and lets face facts, parents don’t. Don’t get me wrong, a small child hanging something on the tree is cute, until it’s the fifteenth time and the tree looks like someone puked Christmas over the bottom left side only. Worse yet, is when you have multiple kids fighting and grabbing decorations like crazy and throwing a fit when their sibling took the spot they were going to.
To avoid a stress-free decorating experience learn to let go. It will take a lot less effort to fix the tree when they go to bed, then fight tooth and nail while they are doing it. Do the lights, let them do the tree, and make sure the piles are all even for each kid. You can always fix it later. Plus side, while they are occupied you can put up the rest of the decorations in the living room the way you want them.
5. Out door decorating
These are usually left to the husbands. The reason being that, well, it’s cold! Let them climb the latter and deal with the twisted lights that keep flickering. They can find the loose bulbs, the clips for the gutters, and the extension cords, am I right? After all, we do the entire inside decorations. We are usually the ones who grab them from the attic too.
I put this one on the list because the kids love to be in the snow during winter. Being stuck inside the house for months on end can drive them as crazy as it does the parents. Unfortunately for the kids we just don’t have the time to go outside, and when we do we are too tired to get everyone ready before we have to go back inside to start dinner. By letting the kids hold the strands of lights outside you are letting them help, letting them outside, and letting them get out of your hair.
6. Christmas shopping
Oh yeah, out favorite part of the holidays. Trying to find the perfect gift for each child as they change their mind each day. You suck your bank account dry as if you were a reaper depleting ones soul. In a way, it does hurt your soul. You do it because you want gifts for your little sweetie pies. You just don’t want one, or two, but as many as you can possibly afford. You just so happen to have multiple children to buy for, and each one has to have exactly the same  amount. Two girls, two dolls exactly the same, but with a different color dress so they can tell it apart!
Get the kids to do chores around the house for an allowance. It sounds pretty straight forward , but to be honest you are going to spend money on the gifts anyways so why not get some house work done in the process. They help you, they get to pick gifts for each other, and there will be just as many presents under the tree then there would of been anyways. Plus side is you don’t have to get annoyed when they don’t have five different colors of the same gift.
7. Baking cookies
Nothing is better then trying to get gooey cookie dough out of your two year old’s hair. The way the kids throw the flour around, and get bored as mommy is helping the other kids with the cookie cutters. Keep an eye on the kids that is hungry, and heaven help you if the snowman looses its head as you try to pry it off the table. It makes you want to do it yourself, but then you feel bad. That was a tradition after all (your mother voice rings in your head).
Here is a cheat that a mother of four learned. Buy one container of pre bought sugar cookies, the ones in the rolls. Cut it, place it in front of the kids and they will place them on the cookie sheet. If you insist on “The good cookies” then by all means cook them up, but I recommend skipping the difficult ones for the kids. You have enough to worry about and they will eat any cookie you give them.
8. Wrapping gifts
Every night for a week I walk down to the basement and uncover the mount of presents that I cleverly hid under the old blankets. They are all under the age of nine, they aren’t coming down the basement if I forced them to. I sit from their bedtime to almost mine. You don’t want them to see the gifts, and the husband would rather go to the dentist then wrap another misshaped toy.
Your remember number five? That helps in more ways because some of them already know the gifts, they can wrap them. Don’t worry about the ones too young to cut or use tape, that’s what they made gift bags for. If you are worried about some telling the others what their gifts are, casually remind them that the stores are still open and the gifts can be returned. They won’t want to loose one of their gifts so that their sibling will know what they got.
9. Your normal daily routine
In addition to your already busy schedule, you have a lot on your plate. The last thing a mother wants is to get backed up on laundry right as her list builds up  to its peak. Running around with your head cut off should not be your idea of the perfect holiday season. Neither should over piling clothes, falling garbage, and dished piled over your sink. You work too hard keeping your hearth clean to watch in vain as it gets dirty.
This is where number 5 comes in handy yet again. Giving your kids chores around the house helps in a lot of different ways. Some of the ways are dishes, laundry, sweeping the floor, cleaning their rooms, and dusting. Now we all know kids don’t clean to our specifications the younger they are, but something is better then nothing.
10.Christmas
This is the day after you set the burned  or crumbling cookies for Santa. You know, the ones little fingers didn’t get a chance to steal yet.  The morning is filled with early risers, wrapping paper the size of your entire living floor, and of course new clothes and toys scattered around. You feel as if all your hard work is done, then don’t worry you have all of that yet to clean.
The new presents your children just opened are great barter tools. You won’t open the toy they want until all the papers are cleaned. You want another, well then little sugar pop you have to put all your new clothes away first. Whatever you decide to have them do, you can guarantee it will get done fairly quickly.
11. New Years Eve
The one holiday that you used to go to the bar to celebrate, has become a holiday reserved to hoping you can last with cranky kids until midnight, most of them don’t last. The ones that do are so sugar and snack filled you have a better chance of upset tummy’s then actually seeing the ball drop.
Put the kids to bed. Sure they won’t get to see the ball drop this year, but consider how many they will see in their lifetime.
Even if they are 20 years old they will see the ball drop at least another 30 times in their lifetime. Most likely more, so just relax and give yourself a day. You deserve it, and it’s been a long year.
No matter which way you celebrate the holidays it doesn’t have to be you doing it all. Sure you may have a two year old, but she can throw things into the garbage, and put up toys from the floor. They need to learn responsibilities, and the feeling of helping others. Let them help you so you and your family can get back to enjoying a stress free holiday.
Don’t forget to stop by and visit Ashley’s Blog www.ashleyblodgett.blogspot.com
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