Raise your hand if you get overwhelmed during the holidays? For many of us, it can be an incredibly stressful time of the year. Especially for those of us charged with making it a magical experience for the littlest ones in our lives. The to-do lists grow, the errand runs never end, the pressures of perfection start to build.

It makes sense that many parents work to bake in some kid-free time into their schedules during the peak times of the holiday rush. Whether it’s running a covert shopping mission or scoring time with other adults in the festive spirit, it’s important to find time to refuel your tank.

In the rush of the holidays, many of us call in favors with family members to cover child care at the last moment. It’s natural. However, there’s a case to find a last-minute babysitter and not only depend on family this holiday season.

If Family Lives Close

If you’re one of the lucky ones to have your built-in village close by, it’s likely that they’re often leaned on. More than anything, the holiday season is a time to connect with family and loved ones. It’s hard to establish that connection if family is the default child care provider for every activity. One simple way to show gratitude for those in your life who support you on a regular basis is making time for just you and them. 

If Family Lives Far Away

When family is far away, quality one-on-one time with your little ones is probably more than welcomed. Definitely take advantage of the opportunity to build those important bonds. However, your family probably misses you too. If a certain family member is always charged with being the last-minute babysitter when all the adults want time away, they’ll miss the adult connection with you in the process. 

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Leaning on family is a crucial part of family experience. Quality time is also crucial to nurturing relationships. Here some ideas for when you might need a last-minute sitter so that you can prioritize connections with everyone in your family this holiday season:

Joint Shopping

Make a memory with a grandparent or aunt by shopping for your little one together. 

Movie Night

November and December is a prime time for seeing a movie on the big screen. The biggest releases are slated for the holiday months. Get the group together and go see the movie everyone will be talking about (Spoiler: It won’t just be Frozen II).

Responsibility Free Dinner

The kitchen gets worked heavily. That means people have to prep. People have to cook. They have to serve. People have to clean. That’s a lot. Plan night when all of the adults who will be working hardest hosting this holiday season get to be the ones being served. 

Game Night

Who says you have to go out? Plan a game night in but bring in a sitter to host the kid portion of the evening so all the adults can tap into their competitive spirit without distractions or “helpers.”

The holiday season is a marathon. If you have a family you can rely on for child care, that’s wonderful. You’ll need it. But it’s important to plan ahead and call in a professional for at least one adult-centric bonding moment.

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