Do you enjoy the Thanksgiving holiday? Or is this the busiest time of the year for you?

After all, your kids are on break from school. You parents are on their way over to see their grandkids. Maybe, they’ll spend the night. And, you’ve decided to squeeze in some shopping, decorating, baking and whatever else you can find time during “your time off.”

So instead of counting the days until everything is back to normal, take back Thanksgiving for the family.

“It’s important for the kids to have fun and enjoy their break, but it shouldn’t be a free for all,” said Joy Crabtree, a licensed psychologist at Cook Children’s Urgent Care and Pediatric Specialties in Southlake.  “I think it’s OK to relax the guidelines about video game and TV time, etc., during this time, but try to keep bedtimes and waking times relatively consistent.  Try to encourage more family activities like board games or card games, or watching a movie together that everyone enjoys. “

Lisa Elliott, a licensed psychologist and clinic manager of Cook Children’s Behavioral Health in Denton, said she sees plenty of her patients’ parents taking their few days away from work as a time to get additional chores of the holiday season done, instead of enjoying time with the family. And yes, that means the in-laws too.

“One thing I have found that really helps with our family from when they were little to even now – we all sit down and define a couple of things:  1) who will help with what and we post it and most important 2) each family member has to list 1-2 things they want to do over the break as a family and then we implement a calendar to put that all in there,” Elliott said. 

Elliot uses this time of year that for her family to select a project, organization and the manner that they will help others in a charitable way.  Her family has served Thanksgiving dinner at a church, for several years they’ve adopted kids through ‘Christmas Angels,’ or helped with a Habitat House Building, etc. She also recommends looking at ways to give back to Cook Children’s.

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