9 Tips to Combat Holiday Stress and Actually Enjoy Yourself as a Parent

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As the holidays approach, the familiar chaos ensues: finding the perfect gift, marathon grocery shopping for that grand feast you’re hosting, booking family travel, and the daunting task of preparing, cleaning, and wrapping presents before the big event. Now add diaper changes, missed nap times, and the constant quest to keep your little ones well-fed and entertained to the mix (because “I’m bored, mom” could be the unofficial holiday soundtrack). It’s no secret that the holiday season can be a frantic juggling act that can often lead to stress and anxiety in a season that’s marketed as the “most wonderful time of the year.” If you’re feeling the weight of it all, rest assured, you’re not alone.

One in six parents report high levels of stress during the holidays, according to a 2021 C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health. And one in five parents acknowledge their own stress levels negatively impact their child’s enjoyment of the season, the poll reports. Among the top stress triggers are financial strain, the pressures of holiday shopping, meticulous planning, meal preparation, and the often unwelcome influx of opinions from well-meaning (but sometimes overwhelming) family members. To combat this, here are nine tips to actually enjoy the holidays as a parent so you don’t miss out on priceless moments.

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