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It's easy to dread the holidays because of their lack of structure. As a special needs mom, you know it will get your child off their routine and throw off their schedule. This causes the whole family to get cranky and irritable. So, instead of throwing an adult hissy fit like you want to (Lol!) or getting mad and saying the heck with routines, you can just simplify the routines you already have in place. If you haven't started household routines yet, you're in luck. The simplified version will help you be successful from the start!
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This post is the third post in a 7-part series called Ditching the Holiday Overwhelm. Here are the other posts:

Post 1: The Tip that Will Leave Your Holiday Stress in the Dust

Post 2: How to Kiss the Holiday Blues Goodbye with 14 Simple Tips

Post 3: How to Create Simple Holiday Routines You Can Actually Stick To

Post 4: The Secret to Dealing With Too Many Toys During the Holidays

Post 5: How to Be Productive During the Holidays: 19 Tips

Post 6: How to Create New Christmas Traditions 

Post 7: How to Maintain Your Sanity During the Holidays


Before we dive into creating your simplified routines, let's look at some important things to remember when it comes to routines.


 Things to remember before you start simplifying holiday routines:

  • Your routine will probably look different each week or even daily during the holiday seasons, and that’s okay.
  • Know if your normal “perfect” routine doesn’t get done, that’s okay. You will live and life will go on.
  • Routines are meant to change. They aren’t set in stone the moment they’re created.
  • It’s okay if your routine changes daily or weekly.
  • Remember, this is only a short season.
  • Keep it simple.

Creating your simplified holiday routine:

1. Write out your current routine. If you don’t currently have one, write out your ideal routine.

2.  Looking at your routine, ask yourself these questions:

     A). What matters the most to get done?

Circle the top 3 things and put a star by the top thing. These are the things that you feel will help you the most if you get them done. They will give you the biggest bang for your buck. For example, I love making my bed every single day, but ultimately if I’m in a time crunch, the world won’t come to an end if my bed isn’t made. Note: Like routines, your top 3 can change. Maybe laundry isn’t in your top 3 on Monday, but come Friday and you’re out of clothes, laundry moves up the list.

     B).  What do I have time for today/this week?
Start with your top 3 things for the day and add on from there to fill up the time you do have.

     C).  What will set me up for success?

What do you feel will help you have a successful day? Start with your top 3 things and then add on top of that what else you have time for. What will help you have a more productive day/week?

3. Don’t forget to simplify your kids’ routines too. You need to decide what to keep and what to let slide based on how much you have going on each day. Be sure to communicate with them ahead of time what your expectations are for that day from them.

Tips to help you be successful with your simplified holiday routines:

  • Talk to your kids about what to expect. Talk to them so they know what to expect when you’re going over to a relative’s house. This helps them not be caught off guard.
  • Don’t forget to schedule your alone time with your kids. It doesn’t have to be an outing outside of the house. You can schedule to read them their favorite story. You get to decide what type of one-on-one time you want to spend with them.
  • Talk over an exit strategy with your spouse. Decide ahead of time when you’re going to leave, if you’re going to drive two vehicles because one person is staying longer, etc.
  • Don’t be afraid to say no. If you don’t want to do something say no. You don’t have to go to 15 Christmas events if you don’t want to. You can say no. Remember: no is a full sentence. You don’t even have to explain anything to them either! Just say no.
  • Do something less often. For example, if you normally dust once a week, make it go to every other week. If you normally go to the car wash once a week, go every other week. This is an easy way to get some time back too.
  • Do the normal routine on the days you can. No need to upset the apple cart every single day, right? Save the simplified routine for busy days.
  • Plan ahead of time. Don’t wait until the last minute. Use the Christmas planner to make sure you are planning, and nothing falls through the cracks.
  • When you make a commitment, put it in your calendar right then and there. Don’t wait. This will help you not double book yourself.
  • Bring stuff your children like on your road trip. Even if you’re only going on a 30-minute car ride, bring stuff your children like. Bring their favorite toy and let them play with it in the car. If they are attached to a stuffed animal they sleep with, bring it. If you go home late, they can hold it on the way home.
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You can learn to love the holidays again. You don’t have to dread the holidays anymore. You don’t need to say yes to everything and add to the stress. You are an adult and you get to do what you want to do. You don’t need anyone else’s permission to do anything.

Don't forget to grab your super-cute Christmas Gift Lists for your children to complete their lists for Santa!! You can get your free copy HERE