Christmas is a magical time for children. With the expected visit from Santa, treats, bright lights, and parties, there’s tons to look forward to. However, just like adults, kids get stressed out if they are faced with a full social calendar, a break in routine and unrealistic expectations.
As a result, kids get increasingly irritable and cranky.
Claudine Cousins, CEO of Empower Simcoe, says children need routine, and the holidays are no different.
Even though there are lots of fun events, it’s important they keep as much of their routine as possible, Cousins says. “When they are on break from school, still have them wake up at a normal time, get dressed and eat breakfast like they normally would. Try keeping the bedtime the same too. There might be the occasional lag, but try to stick to the timeline and rituals like bath and playtime as much as possible.
When it comes to discipline, Cousins recommends not letting things slide. If something needs to be addressed, then address it and set limits. Don’t let it go just because it’s the holidays, as this can create confusion for the child.
Keeping activities to a minimum can sometimes be harder on the caregivers than the kids.
Christmas is full of memory-making events like decorating a gingerbread house, parades, parties, pictures, and list goes on. Cousins recommends trying to temper our expectations. “A lot of times I think the things we want to do is really about us, not our kids.” Children are happy playing with their friends in a batch of snow, so they don’t need much.
If we are selective about what activities we do with our kids, then we are able to maintain a routine but still have lots have fun. Remember that it’s not about the volume of things you do but about the quality.
When you are doing activities, involve the children. Christmas is a great time to include them in conversation’s and encourage them to become more interactive. Cousins says including them in things like decorating the tree and baking stimulates great conversation. “Talk about what you are doing so they can be a part of it.”
For more information and tips on how to maintain routines and self-regulation visit Empowersimcoe.ca
Banner photo courtesy of Pxfuel