The holidays are stressful for everyone, kids included.
The holiday parties and events interrupt our regular schedule, the music, chatter and lights penetrate our senses and the abundance of sugary sweets wreak havoc in our children’s bellies and around our waistlines.
In a nutshell, the holiday hype can simply be too much for kids, as well as adults, to handle.
Fortunately, there are some steps you can take to manage the mayhem and reduce the likelihood that your child will suffer from a major meltdown this holiday season.
1. Keep what you can consistent. The holidays are filled with changes in scheduling and routine. Keeping your child’s sleeping and eating schedules consistent will set her up for success when it comes to handling these changes. Well-fed and well-rested children are better able to manage their emotions and keep a handle on their behavior.
2. Plan your outings around your child’s schedule. While you can’t plan everything around your child’s schedule, making an extra effort to attend events when you know she will be at her best is usually well worth it. Skipping a nap to arrive precisely when a party starts may be tempting, but if you can get that nap in, or get your child to sleep in the car on the way to the party, you will all have a better time once you are there.
3. Feed your kids first. Too often, parents make the mistake of assuming there will be something for the kids to eat wherever they are going. Since you never really know what is going to be served and when, it’s best to feed your child before you head out and to bring along a few snacks you know your child will eat. There is nothing worse than planning to sit down for dinner at 5 o’clock, only to have something your hungry child won’t touch with a ten foot pole served at 7 o’clock.
4. Do what you can well. During the holiday season it can be tempting to let feelings of obligation dictate your schedule and actions, but don’t. It’s often much better to do what you know your family can handle, rather than trying to do it all. Attending two parties that your family can truly enjoy is often better than rushing around to make an appearance at every event you have been invited to.
5. Monitor the merriness. If you find your child is becoming over stimulated, overtired or overexcited, step back and take a break from the festivities. Doing so will give you and your child time to recoup and refocus so you can get back to enjoying the fun.
If you have done your best to prevent a meltdown and one still occurs, take a deep breath and encourage your child to do the same. Just like the holiday season, it will be over before you know it.