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Monday, December 16, 2013

No More Meltdowns

We often expect the holidays to be a time of joy and peace, but if you have children, you know that an overabundance of busyness, sweets, and toys mean the holidays aren’t always merry and bright. 

There are some things parents can do to minimize the likelihood of holiday meltdowns.

  1. Stick (as much as possible) to the routine.  Kids thrive on routine so ensuring they wake up, nap and go to bed at the same time is critical.  Make sure they eat near their usual mealtimes, even if this means giving them a little snack before the big holiday dinner.
  2. Try to keep your disciplinary consistent as possible.  With the stress of shopping and food preparation, it may feel easier to let inappropriate behaviors slide or allow treats beyond what is usually given.  Eventually, though, life returns to normal, and a child who has been indulged will expect the indulgences to continue.  Inconsistent discipline now will mean more headaches later.
  3. Set up expectations BEFORE the event.  If a child will be receiving gifts at a family party, talk with the child about what behaviors are appropriate, such as not saying I dont like this / I already have this and definitely saying thank you to the gift-giver.  Reminding them of their manners in advance will help prevent children from mortifying you or throwing fits over gifts they deem unacceptable. 
  4. Give children an opportunity to feel gratitude by helping them clear-out toys, books and clothing items to donate to local charities.  Read them stories about the non-commercial meanings of the various winter holidays.  Talk with them about kindness, compassion, justice and fellowship and remind them of these things when they begin to get a little prickly.

-Carrie Vittitoe, Today's Family parent writer


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