How to help the holidays go smoothly for your kids
Holidays are often a full of excitement and a fun break from the hum drum of daily life. But as fun as they can be, they can also be a stressful time for kids and parents alike.
Here are a few tips to help holidays with your child go smoothly:
1. Stick to the routine
This certainly isn’t always possible, but as much as you can try to keep your routine somewhat consistent, even on these special days. Keeping rest time, meal times, and bedtimes around the same time as normal helps your little one’s body stay in their groove and know what to expect. Of course, being too rigid with your schedule can sometimes lead to missing some special moments, so don’t stress if bedtime is an hour later than normal one night.
2. Prepare your kiddo
Talk about any upcoming events days, possibly even weeks if your child is older, before it happens. Helping your child know what’s coming and what to expect will help them feel more prepared. Bring it up several times, including details about who will be there, what things there will be to do, etc. If you foresee potential conflicts you can share them with your kiddo and come up with a plan. In preparation for our flight with my newly-potty-trained two year old, I’ve been talking with him about how there’s a potty on the airplane he can use or that we can bring a pull up. So far, he says he wants to use the pull up, but I’ll bring it up a few more times so the situation won’t throw him off guard too much.
3. Connect, connect, connect
Even if your child is having a blast playing with special family members, they still need to have special connection time with you. Being around people you aren’t normally with can be fun, but can also be laced with little stresses and scares for kids.
Carve out times throughout the day for one-on-one time with your kiddo, even if its only for 10 minutes. You may snuggle on the bed, read some books together, take a walk outside or even have some fun rough and tumble play to reconnect.
Connection time with Mom or Dad will help your child feel more secure when facing all of the exciting changes to their routine.
4. Be realistic and schedule downtime
There can be so many fun things to do around the holidays, and it’s tempting to pack in as many as time allows. But don’t forget that an overtly-full schedule can lead to kids (and adults!) feeling over tired, over stimulated, and overwhelmed. Make sure to balance any big outings or events with restful time wherever you’re staying. Even better if you can manage to have some of that downtime outdoors! Don’t be afraid to leave a gathering early or choose to decline an invite if you feel like it just might be too much.
5. Take a deep breath and accept what happens
Even with your best efforts, tough moments are bound to happen. As uncomfortable as a meltdown may be, your child is trying to communicate to you how they’re feeling and what they need. Stay present, accept their feelings, and wait for the storm to pass. If you feel self-conscious of the way your child behaves around extended family or at a special event, take a deep breath and remind yourself that you and your kid are doing their best. You’re not a bad parent and your child is not a bad kid. The normal routine is off and your kiddo might be a little off too.
If you notice a questioning look that makes you feel uncomfortable, either ignore it or smile confidently and say “We’ve had a big day. Being ___ years old can be hard.” And then go back to focusing on your child and reminding yourself that you’ve got this, you are exactly what your child needs.
We wish you and your family a restful, loving and peaceful winter break.
Enjoy that little one and remember, we’re rooting for you. 😍