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. Eva says

    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. Helene Cohen Bludman says

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

  3. says

    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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