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PATRICE DUNAGIN, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service

Many of us will be traveling to spend the holiday with other family members or hosting family for the holidays in our homes. You may be excited, as well as anxious about spending time with relatives. It can be stressful, combining all those personalities and temperaments.

As you prepare for this holiday season, keep these tips in mind:

— Families have different schedules. Your family may even live in different time zones. This time change takes a little adjustment. Be flexible, let them adjust as they see fit. Don’t impose your bed time on them; let your family sort it out themselves. It is fine for you to retire to bed at your usual time. Understand they have a different schedule.

— Be flexible. Plan family activities but realize that during this short visit, your family members will have other people they want to see. In blended families, it is important to realize how difficult it can be to see both sets of parents, grandparents and extended family.

— Relieve the pressure by reducing your expectations. Be glad and grateful for the time that you spend with your family. It is great to plan a family game night, but understand that this activity may not work for everyone. Enjoy those who can participate in your holiday activities.

— Manage stress. If you have a time consuming family tradition, modify it to make it easier for you. Be careful not to over commit during this time. Keep your plans and activities simple. Make sure you have time to relax and watch that favorite holiday movie.

— Prioritize activities and find balance. Encourage family members to practice basic health safety tips such as frequent hand washing, food safety and travel suggestions, injury prevention tips and stress management.

— Connect socially. Plan fun activities with your children, partner and spouse or family members. Whether it’s making hot cocoa or a batch of cookies, do it together, catch up and enjoy the visit.

— Realize that your parenting styles may be different for your children and your stepchildren. Parenting styles are different for most of us and increasing our awareness of those differences will increase our understanding and provide an opportunity for us to become a better parent.

During this holiday season, enjoy your family, keep the peace and reflect on your blessings.


For more information, contact Patrice Dunagin, Smith County FCH agent for Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, at 903-590-2980.


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