Barnabas Center
Barnabas Center

Surviving the Holidays with Young Children by Cathy Clevenger, MSW, LCSW

Yes, you read the title correctly, “How to SURVIVE THE Holidays with young children.” While the holidays are crazy busy for all of us, I think that parents of young children likely have one of the toughest jobs in getting through the holidays and experiencing some of the joy, laughter, and precious memories. I am not a mother of young children, so I went to an expert, my younger sister. She has two boys, a two-year-old and a three-year-old. What I love about my sister is that she tells it like it is – the good, the bad, the ugly. She and her husband are going into their third year of holidays with little ones. I have made a list of her suggestions below. I hope that they are helpful to some of you.

  1. Schedule a calendar and talk about what is happening weekly with your spouse to keep on top.
  2. Let the children know the events coming up if they are old enough to understand.
  3. Stick to your children’s bedtimes and routines as much as possible.
  4. Plan for food items you will need to take so you can buy them weeks in advance. Otherwise, you will end up running to the store at crazy times.
  5. Buy gifts online.
  6. Teamwork with a spouse is key for EVERYTHING.
  7. It’s alright to say, “Sorry we can’t make it.” We are human and we can’t make everything.
  8. Plus, your family needs some downtime together over the holidays, not constant events and traveling.
  9. Plan a date night for you and your spouse to get a break.
  10. Accept the fact that it doesn’t have to be picture perfect to make wonderful memories.


Cathy Clevenger, MSW, LCSW