Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Managing the Holidays with Young Children

Holiday time provides the "stuff" of childhood memories. Parents want their children to look back at holiday celebrations and remember them as a time of wonder, joy and fun. As parents, we create the values and excitement of the holiday season. Here are a few ideas to make this time special:

Don't expect that young children, especially toddlers, will fully understand the meaning of the holiday season. Remember that most children become very exhausted during holiday time. Be aware of your child's capacity to deal with the excitement and emotions and plan their schedule with these limitations in mind.

Keep to your child's routine as much as possible. Make sure that your child's mealtime schedule is not interrupted. Hungry children quickly become cranky children. For that matter, so do some adults! It's better to feed your child his or her meal than to wait until the special, large dinner. He or she can then play quietly, watch a movie, or nap while the adults have their meal.

Don't make major changes in your child's life during the holidays. This is not the time to wean him from the bottle, pacifier or crib. To avoid overwhelming your children by the crowded mall, shop by catalog, hire someone to shop for you, or hire a baby sitter to stay home with your young ones.

Many children are afraid of sitting on Santa's lap (can you blame them?) so don't force the situation for a magic Kodak moment. Most likely, you won't get the picture you want. You might consider standing next to Santa with your child.

Grandparents and other extended family members may not be used to having small children around, so plan separate activities with your children to give everyone a break. Try taking a walk with your children, reading a book out loud, or setting up a puzzle on a table in the corner for quiet time. Remember to keep your plans simple so the entire family enjoys the holidays.

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