Surviving the holidays with your young children

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Holiday celebrations and visits are occasions of happiness and sharing among family and friends but can also be stressful. For your young child/children, the holidays often mean changes in their schedules, family visitors and gatherings, and sleeping in unfamiliar surroundings. See our tips on traveling with your child: https://uwsparentingsupport.com/2015/06/30/traveling-with-your-baby/ https://uwsparentingsupport.com/2015/06/30/traveling-with-your-toddler-or-preschooler/

Here are some things to keep in mind that may help the holidays be more enjoyable for both you and your child/children:

YOU WILL HAVE TO BALANCE YOUR NEEDS AND THOSE OF YOUR CHILD DURING SOCIAL GATHERINGS

  • Make sure your child is being supervised by a familiar adult or is engaged with a toy, with another child or a group of children.
  • Don’t assume your child will manage on her own while you chat with the adults. This can create a situation in which she could become disruptive.
  • You and your partner can switch off doing childcare. This will allow for more rewarding time with the adults when it is your turn to socialize.

YOUR CHILD NEEDS TIME TO BECOME COMFORTABLE AND TO GRADUALLY CONNECT WITH UNFAMILIAR FAMILY MEMBERS

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  • Explain to your relatives that your child does best when he can come on his own timetable. If applicable, remind your relative that it has been a while since your child has seen him or her.
  • Talk in a calm, authoritative manner, even if your relative is insulted by your child’s refusal to “give a hug”. Reassure your relative that this is what will work best in the end.
  • Try playing a familiar game with your child and your relative so they can begin to form a connection.
  • Remember, you are your child’s advocate, even if it means presenting a different point of view to demanding or critical family members.

HOLIDAYS  ARE OFTEN A TIME OF OVERSTIMULATION FOR YOUNG CHILDREN

  • If your child receives too many presents at once, you can give her one or two gifts at a time. That way, your child can focus on and enjoy each gift without feeling overwhelmed.
  • Try to allow some down time in between events.
  • Rather than be disappointed in your child or yourself, assume there will be some meltdowns, even with the best planning.

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