Is the hype of the holidays overstimulating your children?
Too much sugar, too little sleep?
Try these 6 tips:
1) Routines and rituals: Try to keep as many going as you can. Even when you travel, insist on a regular bedtime. Take their favorite toy, stuffed animal or blanket for reassurance and familiarity. I f possible, make naps a priority and plan around them. Whatever you can do to approximate their normal schedule will help.
2) Choose TV and videos carefully. Pick shows and videos that are calming and present the true meaning of Christmas. If you can record shows, bypass commercials so that the constant barrage of toys is minimized. Limit time in front of screens and take your kids out to exercise and work off some of their excitement and energy.
3) Insist on healthy eating despite the extra snacks. Prepare meals versus grabbing fast food on the run. Allow special treats but monitor how many are consumed.
4) Inform your kids regarding activities. Tell them where you are going and what is expected in terms of their behavior. Ahead of time, discuss rewards for appropriate behavior rather than waiting to discipline for acting out.
5) Keep as many family traditions as possible as these are comforting to children.
6) Laugh as a family. The more fun and laughter in a home, the less stressed everyone will be.
Notice that all of these tips focus on keeping routines, eating well and getting rest—three known ways to help a child with his or her behavior. If you provide these basics, the extra stress of the holidays will go better for all of you.