• Kathy Whitham

How to Minimize Power Struggles Over Vacation!

Updated: Jan 9

Make A Plan!!


If you missed my last blog with Step 1 of your holiday plan, take a sec to check out 3 Parenting Power Tips To Get Through the Holidays...In One Piece!

Then come right back.


The lack of the usual structure and routine over holiday vacation can be so dysregulating for the whole family! I don’t need to tell you how seemingly constant power struggles can consume your day.


Here’s a plan to make things easier.


1. Put something in your tank so you’re not running on fumes. (See Blog post above)


2. Make as much as you can predictable. Predictability decreases the anxiety at the root of many challenging behaviors.

  • Get a whiteboard calendar immediately for less than $20.

Here are a couple links. You can also make a simple calendar on poster board.

Magnetic for fridge

11x14 for wall


  • Review the schedule each morning and before any transition to an event. Explain what’s happening again (no, they don’t remember you told them) and let your child know what to expect in concrete terms.

  • Stick to your child’s eating and bedtime routines whenever possible. I know it sucks to have to leave a party early, but leaving in the middle of a huge meltdown sucks more.

3. Share control, wherever you can. Feeling out of control increases anxiety and disruptive behavior.

  • Let your children share control of the calendar for the major changes (transitions) by putting different color magnets or drawing symbols for the following:

*Days they are off school

*Days they will be at a co-parents house

*Days they are travelling or will be at a relatives house

  • Have a hot chocolate party where each person in the family gets to say one (acceptable) goal or desire they have for vacation. Then commit to making those happen and put them on the calendar as soon as you can. (some of them will lend themselves to the added benefit of family connection time) Some possibilities might be:

*Watch a movie (they pick)

*Go sledding

*Go to a yoga class

*Have quiet time alone to read

*Play date with someone


4. Have a dance party! Science tells us that patterned, repetitive movement, fun and play help us feel regulated and connected. What better way to combine all three than with a dance party? (I’m thinking - every day!) Be creative about other ways to share patterned, repetitive movement or play when you start to feel stressed out with your child.


To review...

  1. Fill your tank.

  2. Create predictability.

  3. Share control.

  4. Share patterned, repetitive movement.

Reach out to me via email if you need a Holiday Solutions 1/2 hour Mini session.

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