We all know how anxious and excited kids of all ages can be during the holidays. Parents have enough stress making sure Christmas takes place, an overly anxious cranky child can add to the pressure and anxiety of the entire house.
Here are some suggestions on dealing with kids during the holiday season:
- Stick to the normal routine as much as possible. Nighttime rituals such as dinner, bath, story time, and bedtime allow the child to feel a sense of normality. Read Christmas books or holiday related activities can offer the Christmas spirit but keeping children on a nighttime routine will cut down on their anxiety levels.
- Don’t feel you need to attend every single Christmas event offered within 60 miles of your home. Chose the activities and limit them to a few. Kids can get over-stimulated as well as begin to expect to run and go to a different event daily.
- Preview what is going to happen weekly and daily. An advent calendar can help with the countdown and serve as an excellent way to discuss the true meaning of Christmas. Previewing, talking, or showing kids on a calendar, can help with what is happening and when.
- If your child is introverted, don’t shove him into situations with lots of people, family, entertainment and expect him to feel warm and fuzzy. Introduce him slowly and don’t make him kiss Aunt Bertha, (who he has never seen before) on the mouth, expecting him to be cute and engaging.
- If your child is extroverted and can easily be hanging from the ceiling fan quickly at Aunt Sarah’s house, be aware of this and remind him of the rules, boundaries and expectations. Do not over-stay your welcome and expect the kids to entertain themselves upstairs for a couple of hours while the parents party downstairs. Take a movie, favorite toy, activity, or something familiar to your child. Check on little Johnny routinely and limit the sweets.
- If you have young children, remember they probably won’t sleep in the next am after you have been out all night, so you might want to leave them at a grandparent’s house when you attend a party. A not feeling so good after the party parent can prove to be a little cranky themselves to their kids. Plan ahead.
The holidays are typically fin and exciting for families and especially kids! Planning ahead and offering some sort of structure works wonders during the holiday season!