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Filtering by Tag: boston parents

Holiday Traditions

Amanda Houle

Holiday traditions are important to instill in your children. It is healthy for both yourself and your children to create fun activities and routines for the holidays. Do you remember any of your family traditions that you may have had as a child? Do you feel happy when you think back? If so, I encourage you to adopt a new tradition unique to your family and/or culture. In today’s society I feel it is difficult to lose your way and forget your values. Truly think about what could be fun and new to create.


The holidays come and go so quickly and too often we forget to breathe and take time to enjoy the holidays with loved ones. It is perfectly ok to not have the time or energy to do it all. Even more of a reason as to why it is important to create a tradition or ritual that is important to you to help strengthen your family bond. Your children will appreciate you for it.


Learning how to navigate with a blended family during the holidays can be tough. Please be easy on yourself and be sure to spend time solely with the kids. This is a great opportunity for you to begin a new tradition with the children. Involve them in the process by asking them for their suggestions. It will help strengthen your bond. Keep in mind that there may have been traditions that bring back memories of children’s parents together which should also be a motivator to want to create new traditions with your blended family.


Spending time with extended family can be challenging. Have a conversation with your partner to discuss boundaries and perhaps create a code word if you have overextended yourself and need to leave. Being mindful and respecting your partners boundaries is key to a healthy and thriving family regardless of whether or not they may like it. Remember this- you may have married into your partners family but you still married your significant other and it is they that you lay in bed with every night so be mindful in that and this will add to your loving marriage. Appreciation goes a long and even more so during the holidays when it is easy to get caught up in all of the things going on around you. Too often we get lost. Have fun, enjoy yourselves, and spend time with your loved ones in replace of feeling like you “have to” participate in this year’s Yankee swap for ex. You get to choose how you show up.


 Behavior Tips to get you through the chaos of the holidays:

But remember it does not have to be chaotic if you choose more ease and flow! Choice is up to YOU.

 For holiday parties and starting new routines:

1)  Have FUN! Especially when behaviors arise such as crying or throwing a tantrum. Redirect and let it go.

2) Follow through with your word ALWAYS so people know what to expect especially your children!

3) Go around the table during meal time at your holiday function and give a compliment to each and every family member sitting at the table, have fun and everyone take turns!

4) Set expectations prior to the party. Simple and concrete directions go a long way. Have your children repeat them to you to ensure they understand.

5) Create a social story explaining what will happen at the party and who will be there for children that may struggle with transitions and experience anxiety.


Happy Holidays! BE MERRY!

 Amanda xx

Parenting Guru | Designer Nanny

Reestablishing the School Rules of Your Routine

Amanda Houle

Depending on where your kiddos go to school, their summer days might be drawing to an end sooner than later. While most schools resume after Labor Day, some get back in the swing in August, and others start as early as July. If your school system falls in the latter camp, you need to get started reestablishing the school rules of your routine -- stat!

Realizing the Root Strength of Routine

A rock-solid routine is absolutely essential to rocking the school year from the very start. The details driving your routine are like the roots anchoring your schedule, no matter which way the wind blows. While it’s tempting to celebrate summer with lazy days and a devil-may-care approach to dedicated bedtimes, running from reality too long will catch up with you.


When families fail to prepare for the school year, they run the risk of increased struggles with expectations. As too many of us know, these struggles often manifest as defiance, Oscar-worthy tantrums, and all-around apathy about school, homework, and extracurricular activities.


Bedtime is the baseline of effective routines for children. You can even start the bedtime process by encouraging activities like choosing outfits the night before and either making or setting out lunch components ahead of time. In addition to these broad strokes, pay attention to the finer, day-specific details. For example, is gym on Tuesday? Make sure the sneakers and appropriate clothes are packed in a bag, ready at the door the night before.


Ditto any after school activities -- sports, chorus, drama -- you name it. And whatever IT is, make sure you model packing and preparing, accordingly, ahead of time. Remember, the routines you demonstrate now will prove invaluable as your kids mature and encounter more responsibilities with each passing grade. This is a learned habit, a lifelong skill your kids need to master in order for them to succeed in school… and beyond.  


You’re their first teacher. But, as the saying goes, “it takes a village.” So, if you’re struggling or have already experienced difficult behavior from your kids this summer, don’t wait a moment longer. Enlist the help of your tribe and be proactive about putting your best foot forward, so that your kids can confidently follow your footsteps.