The holiday season can be filled with endless amounts of laughter, joy, and fun, but sometimes the “most wonderful time of the year” can be a bit stressful. From shopping for everyone on your list to excessive travel visiting family and friends, it can be difficult to keep the cheerful holiday spirit alive.
The holidays can be stressful for the entire family since they often disrupt normal daily schedules with events, family & friend gathering, and travel. This can be especially difficult for young children, who are used to being on a schedule. Fortunately, there are several steps you can take to minimize holiday stress, especially when you have young children. Here are some tips to make the holidays easier for both you and your child.
1. TRY TO STICK TO YOUR NORMAL EATING AND SLEEPING SCHEDULE
It’s difficult to avoid not altering your child’s sleeping and eating patterns during the holidays, especially when you are traveling to visit family or hosting family at your home. However, try to stick to your child’s usual eating and sleeping pattern as much as possible, to help avoid completely messing up their schedule. This will help make for a much happier and well-rested child.
2. TRAVEL WITH A PIECE OF HOME
Whether traveling across the country to visit family, or simply going across town for a holiday dinner, bring a comfort item from home to help soothe and calm your child. Packing your child’s favorite blanket, stuffed animal or toy, can help them feel more comfortable, especially in a new environment.
3. INFORM FAMILY AND FRIENDS OF “THE RULES”
Every parent knows the importance of setting rules for their child to abide by. However, while visiting with extended family or friends whom you don’t normally see throughout the year, these rules can quickly become overlooked. That is why it is important to try to inform family and friends of important rules you have in place for your child prior to gatherings, to try to avoid confusion for your child on what’s acceptable.
4. BE MINDFUL OF YOUR CHILD’S DIET
The holiday season always includes lots of unhealthy, yet delicious foods. While it’s okay to give a little more leeway than usual, be mindful to monitor your child’s diet so they aren’t just eating unhealthy foods. Keeping them on their normal diet could help avoid them getting sick and/or throwing tantrums.
5. PLAN FUN, PHYSICAL ACTIVITIES
For many individuals, the holidays are a time to relax and rest indoors. However, parents know this is not always realistic when you have young, active children. Plan fun indoor activities for your child, such as hide-and-seek, doing arts and crafts, building a fort, etc., to help keep them active and engaged while they’re cooped up inside. If it’s nice out, plan activities outside such as sledding, going to a park, or taking a walk. Your planned activity could become a new holiday family tradition that lasts for generations!
6. MOST IMPORTANTLY, DON’T GET TOO STRESSED
While a holiday party or family dinner can be stressful, remember that they are meant to be fun be enjoyable events with your loved ones. As children grow up quickly, make sure to take the time to enjoy the holidays with them to make happy, memorable memories.
The holidays should be a time spent with loved ones, so don’t get caught up in the stress. Remember to be conscious of your child’s routine, to try to minimize any disruption to their routine, but don’t let that take over their enjoyment of the holidays.