8 Helpful Hints for Families Celebrating the Holidays
There’s no doubt that the holidays are full of boughs of joy. This season’s festivities, however, can also add some stress — especially for families with young children. We asked the experts leading our Children Services department for some advice on celebrating the holidays. Here’s some of their helpful hints, such as staying active outdoors and finding comfort where you can.
1. Keep to your routine as much as possible.
Plan ahead and prepare your child if things are going to be different. Store familiar toys and books or a favorite blanket with you when traveling. These everyday items will help soothe your child when something unexpected comes up.
2. Be open to change when it’s not possible.
Just because you have always celebrated one way does not mean it has to stay that way. Things may not go as planned when you have a toddler or baby in tow. Be willing to alter plans to keep stress levels low. Who knows, you might even discover new family traditions!
3. Stay active.
Burn off all that extra excitement by spending time outside with your child. When weather permits, aim for at least one hour per day or multiple smaller increments if needed. Remember, the more playtime, the better. Either play with your child or schedule a playdate. Allow for free exploration and imaginative play.
4. Plan kid-friendly meals.
Be mindful of introducing new foods. A house full of guests might not be the best time to see if your child likes broccoli, and a sick child will not help anyone’s stress level. Keep some go-to favorites with you as you travel — especially for those picky eaters — just in case there is a food emergency.
5. Find comfort at home.
Consider building a fort, an indoor tent or even a box house. Make it extra comfy with some favorite toys and books, a flashlight, lantern or other imaginative trinkets. This will serve as a special place where your child can go to just get away from all the hubbub of the holidays — a quiet, comforting nook made just for them.
6. Decorate with safety.
Practice electrical safety when plugging in lights and other decor. Keep in mind your young child’s curiosity. Use a baby gate or similar free-standing fence to keep little fingers away from your holiday decorations. Be sure to hang breakable ornaments out of reach … or just skip them all together.
7. Understand your child.
You know your child best. A shy child probably won’t be thrilled with a house full of people or with travelling to other people’s unfamiliar homes. Similarly, taking a picture with Santa at the mall might not go how you had hoped. For active kids, sitting quietly for a long meal, church service or even present opening can be a challenge. Try not to overestimate their ability to be patient and still. If possible, plan ahead by adapting holiday activities to better suit your child.
8. Always remember the reason for the season.
Spending time with family is one of the best parts of the holidays. Be sure to laugh together. Your toddler is not going to remember the gifts or the meal. What they will remember is spending quality time together as a family.
Every family has their own traditions to keep the holidays fun, and safe. What helps you and yours prepare for or celebrate the holidays? Share your tips and tricks with us on Facebook!