With Halloween behind us and the “holidays” upon us; we are entering the time of year where children are so excited you practically have to peel them off the ceiling!

The holidays are supposed to be fun, but they can also be very stressful for parents who are juggling blended family schedules and obligations while trying to make everyone happy.

So before you end up with any meltdowns (children and adults included) consider these Five Tips for planning a safe and less stressful holiday season:

1. Check in with family

Check in with your family members and co-parents now to learn what they are planning for the holidays. Consider how their plans work with your expectations and communicate what will (and won’t) work for you. If there are any scheduling adjustments that need to be made, work them out now peacefully so there are no surprises when the landmark holidays arrives.

2. Plan shared custody

For shared-custody and non-custodial parental visits; map out your plan now for date and time of pick-ups and returns (when and where).

3. Confirm plans

Reconfirm these plans with your co-parents and with your children between now and the holiday main events. Many children become incredibly anxious about where they are going to “be” for the holidays, and having a solid plan in place will eliminate some of this anticipatory anxiety.

4. Make plans easy to see

Put these plans on a calendar so that your children can easily see them when they want to. The refrigerator or somewhere in the kitchen in plain sight are great spots.

5. Reassure

Let your children know that no matter how the scheduling goes, you will have time to do something special with them during the holidays! This is a “season” not just one day to celebrate together!

Stay tuned for upcoming tips on managing children’s expectations around gifts (especially electronic devices), and staying safe in public places!

Most of all, remember to cherish your children and keep those who are searching for their children close in your hearts, this holiday season and always!

From all of us at the Polly Klaas Foundation, we wish you a happy holiday season from start to finish!