The holidays are a special time for everyone, but they are positively magical for kids. As every parent knows, however, all that magic can quickly lead to behavior breakdowns.
Illness, temper tantrums, over-scheduling, too many sweets and overstimulation can turn even the best kids into monsters and parents into tyrants. How can you get through the season without your kids turning you into the Grinch? Here are some helpful holiday survival tips to enjoy a healthy and happy holiday together.
Nothing ruins the season faster than a houseful of sickies. Remind kids to wash their hands often, never share cups or utensils, and to take their vitamins. An ounce of prevention is a much more pleasant experience than the pound of cure you would deal with in the middle of your busiest month.
Kids learn by watching you. If you tell kids there is more to life than material things, but never demonstrate that by acting charitably, the lesson will never sink in. When that happens, don’t wonder why your sweet angel has a fit that he did not get the video game he wanted. Take your kids to help those less fortunate. Help them arrange a book drive for disadvantaged kids, sing carols at a retirement home, or serve dinner at a soup kitchen. Keep it up throughout the year and your kids will know the true meaning of the holidays.
Kids can only handle so many parties and so much shopping. Only you know how much your child can handle, but in general it is best to stick as close to her normal schedule as possible.
Keep an eye on your child’s eating habits during these crazed weeks. Make sure he is still eating a balanced diet with lots of whole grains and veggies. Treats are okay, but don’t let him go overboard on sugary drinks and snacks. Not only will they cause a sugar high, but such snacks can disrupt bedtimes, leading to behavioral problems the next day.
Remember those you love
If you notice your child is sad around the holidays, ask why. They could be remembering a family member or pet that has passed away and wishing they could share in the celebration. Let your child know it is okay to be sad sometimes, and incorporate their memories into a new family tradition. Have Dad dress up like Santa the way Grandpa used to, or make a donation to your local animal shelter in the old family dog’s name.