The holidays are a stressful time for even the best-adjusted adult. The holiday season for young children is almost a certain situation to cause the toddler meltdown. Think about the way your child sees the holiday season. First of all, the stores where he is used to going with Mommy look entirely different. Everybody keeps asking what he wants Santa to being him. Mommy and Daddy are running around cooking, shopping, wrapping gifts, making plans, etc. The little one is excited — overly excited — and the excitement continues day after day after day. How do you NOT expect a meltdown?
There are certain things, however, that parents can do to help their young children cope with the holiday season and all that it brings.
1. Maintain the child’s normal schedule as nearly as possible. Disrupted schedules are an invitation for stress. Try to maintain normal get-up and go-to-bed times. Try to maintain normal meal times, etc.
2. Limit sugar consumption. There is sugar everywhere during the holiday season. Sugar is a stimulant. Limit your child’s consumption of sugar to help him maintain control.
3. Limit television and video viewing. It seems that the airwaves are over loaded with excitement during the holiday season, and the child “picks up on” that added excitement.
4. Allow ample “time outs” from the excitement. Sometimes the season is overwhelming for adults and it’s doubly overwhelming for small children. Just take a break — and take a break as often as necessary.
5. Don’t forget cuddle time. Yes, you are busy, but don’t get so busy that you forget to take your little one on your lap and read a sweet story to him. Include humor in story time. A good laugh can prevent an almost certain meltdown!
Good luck, and remember that the holidays really don’t last forever.