Keeping kids calm and stress-free during the holiday rush.


In just a few short days, we’ll barrel head first into what is arguably the most difficult time of year for children. When you consider the sweet treats, parties, crowded stores, hurried schedule and pressure to be “good”, it’s no wonder kids tend to break down around the holidays! It didn’t take me too many years as a mom to figure out that these seasonal meltdowns are most likely due to stress…and there’s plenty we can do to prevent them!

First, stick to the routine.

Some disruptions might be unavoidable if you’re traveling or hosting guests, but for the most part, it’s important to keep kids on their normal schedule. Keep the bedtime routine consistent, and don’t forget a little quiet time before bed to help them wind down from an overstimulating day. The same goes for meals. Watch sugar, food dyes and other ingredients that pop up more often during the holidays, and keep your kids’ systems in check by making sure they eat good, balanced meals that won’t throw their blood sugar into a tailspin.

Then, choose calming activities.

What do you to with your children to relax throughout the year? Whatever it is, keep doing it. There are so many variables during the holiday months, so it’s comforting for kids to have a little down time doing what they always do. For us, that might mean quiet reading time or building a fire at our makeshift campsite out back.

This year, we’re getting creative with “And Then….”, a collection of story starter cards from Compendium.

Word Mark-Compendium®+live inspired-Orange

The set comes with 20 beautifully illustrated cards, each featuring a fun beginning to a story. It’s up to you and your child to dream up the ending.

How fun, right? You should hear the silly yarns my boy spins!

He has his own reading chair in my office where he can get lost in a book while Mommy gets some work done. I find it keeps his mood much more stable than if I give him free reign of the TV, plus he just loves sharing his story ideas.

But he doesn’t always get to sit and read alone. :)

I know that regular reading and imaginative play will help develop my kids’ creativity, as well as help them build the confidence to explore their own ideas as they mature. Compendium has lots of other great products like journals, cards, and Story Lines (books that allow kids to illustrate their own stories.) All perfect for quiet creative time.

But what better place for stories than around a campfire! It’s getting dark early these days, but we still get outside a good bit on the weekends. I’ve been trying to get out to visit our little firepit as much as possible, because the fresh air and outdoor time seem to really help my little guy burn off some of that holiday cabin fever. It does us all good to leave the laptops and iPads behind for a little while and decompress as a family in our favorite place.

You can’t see our little campsite from here, but it’s waaaaaay out there at the end of our yard, by the trees.

This weekend, we’ll be taking storytime outdoors to throw a Duraflame log on the fire and spend a little time unplugged. 


We use Duraflame logs because they are an easy way to enjoy a fire (and my boys like building a fire more than just about anything) with significantly less smoke, reducing neighborhood air quality issues. It’s just important to make sure you are allowed to burn in your area right now, which you can check just by entering your zip code on Duraflame’s When to Burn site.

If you get the green light to burn, you should join us! Instagram your photos and we can have a virtual campfire together! Wouldn’t it be fun to do an “around the country” story with our cards from Compendium? There’s gotta be a way to do it with Facebook or Instagram, right? Hmm…I feel some ideas coming on…

(I even know where you can gets some coupons. )

Enter to win!

Just in time for the holiday season, Duraflame wants to help make sure you experience the warmth of hearth and home with the I Hearth Duraflame Sweepstakes. It’s your chance to win a complete prize package that includes:

  • 3 cases of duraflame® firelogs
  • A custom Holiday Wreath
  • A New Kindle Fire HD Tablet

Perfect for all the fun, festivities and those all-important quiet nights when you’re snuggling up to a roaring fire with your little ones. Hurry and enter, Sweepstakes ends November 22nd!

Do your kids have trouble coping with the holiday overload? If you have tips for keeping them calm and stress-free, please share below!




  1. I love the idea of having story starters to work with. It gets the kids to read, but also encourages them to think and be creative. This is so much better than TV. I used to play such a game with my little one. We would make up a scenario like circus and then he would have to play the lion or the clown, while I completed the housework.

  2. i love the story starter cards!! what a cool idea for a family gift :)

  3. Michelle F. says:

    Great tips. Will be keep this post in mind.

  4. My kids are in pretty good shape. These are good tips!
    Debbie Denny recently posted..Knowing Vera By Rachelle Ayala – $20 Amazon Giveaway!My Profile

  5. Great holiday tips. It is really good to keep a routine for a stress free season. We also love sitting around a duraflame fire during this time of year.
    Chrishelle @ Cheer MamaDrama recently posted..FUNDRAISING MADE EASY WITH ENJOY THE CITYMy Profile

  6. I have trouble with holiday stress, lol. Thanks for the tips!
    Jenny @ MyLittleMe recently posted..Dohm Sound Machine – Sleep Bundle for Serious SleepMy Profile

  7. I love these! They would be great for long car rides.
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  8. Sticking with a routine was always a mainstay during our holidays. Otherwise there was constant crying and screaming.

  9. Helene Cohen Bludman says:

    The story starter cards are really cute. It helps to have a calming activity during the busy holidays.

  10. I think it may be opposite with us! My kids are stressing me out about the holiday!
    Amy Lynn Desrosiers recently posted..Magic Straws Chocolate Candy Cane Review #HolidayGiftGuide #GlutenFreeMy Profile

  11. Great tips for this crazy busy time of year!!
    Jennifer B recently posted..NCO Hiring Customer Service Work At HomeMy Profile

  12. I love those cards… what a great way to get a story started and the imagination going. Thank you

  13. The holidays are so hectic, I really do think it’s important to keep the routine in tact.
    Danielle @ We Have It All recently posted..Group Gifting Option Now Available with PishPosh Baby’s New Baby Registry | Plus $20 Off Birth Announcements from Tiny PrintsMy Profile

  14. No kids yet but I always try to get enough sleep. Chaos seems more chaotic when you’re exhausted
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  15. I have never seen these cards before, I so need to look into these for homeschooling!
    Mama to 5 BLessings recently posted..Paper Plate Pilgrim Craft (Learn & Link With Linky)My Profile

  16. I’d love to use those cards with my kids. Imagination is everything when it comes to keeping kids occupied. I’m going to have to really check those out! Story starter cards help kids with comprehension and so much more!
    Elizabeth Towns recently posted..Wait… Junie B. Jones …Don’t GoMy Profile

  17. These are great tips. I try to be very strict about the schedule in my house. That way, my family always knows what to expect and when.
    Stacie Connerty recently posted..Get Your Holiday Feasts To-Go at PiccadillyMy Profile

  18. Love these wonderful tips.. and your pics are so amazing!
    My son is 14 and he still has trouble adjusting to all the overload surprisingly!
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  19. This is a great idea! Keeping kids entertained during the holiday craziness can be difficult.
    Shannah @ Just Us Four recently posted..Let’s Party!My Profile

  20. Great tips! My kids seem ok but I like to keep things in check
    Francine @ Teresa’s Family Cleaning recently posted..Dan’s Best of The Best 2013My Profile

  21. This is a great idea. So often parents forget that holidays can stress children. This was a good reminder and some good relief suggestions.
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  22. We are Dura Flame junkies. Every Friday night I light one at 7pm, just in time for our “FridayMovieNight” movie to have ended. Then we bring out the s’mores and bundle up in sleeping bags and hang out together!

    As for the holiday stress, my kids haven’t had any issues so far. But we’re pretty laid back in general.
    Danyelle recently posted..Ethel M Holiday Lights 2013My Profile

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