The holidays can be such an exciting time for everyone especially our children. While enjoying the fun of days off school, extra time with extended family, presents, and endless supply of delicious food can be amazing for our children, it can also be a stressor for a lot of families.
At some point, it seems like the excitement can turn to a meltdown in a second. Here are a couple ways to help handle the holiday season this year!
Let Your Children Help Out
- There can be so much extra work for families around the holiday season: preparing meals, cleaning the house, decorating, etc. Instead of finding a distraction for your child to complete, let them do some of the work too! Decorating can be extremely motivating for children, and it is also provides great opportunities for language and executive functioning. Additionally, helping to prepare meals during the holidays can be a great way to get your picky eater to engage with non-preferred foods! This is a very fun way to get ready for the holidays!
- Children love the holidays because they get a break, but removing all expectations because it’s the holidays can be dangerous. Children crave routine, and it can often help avoid meltdowns. Consider making a visual schedule to help let your child know the expectation of the day so they can know what is coming next. Take advantage of bedtime routines to unwind before bed and have conversations about what happened that day to work on social interaction.
Accept the Meltdown
- Speaking of meltdowns, they are essentially inevitable around the holidays, and that is okay! Your family loves you, and it is great that your child feels like this is a safe enough space to melt down. Children will be children and navigating this intense but fun holiday season can be extremely tricky for them. During meltdowns, try to provide your child with the language that they are needing to express themselves (e.g., “I am just feeling so tired, and I need a break.”)
Self-Care is Important for All
- We love self-care! Reminder that it is not only important for your child, but also for you! Feel free to ask for help if you need a break, and make sure that you are allowing your child time within the day to be alone and re-set. In addition, it is okay to say no to a holiday event. Staying inside and spending together as a family can be another great way to recharge.
- While it can be a stressful time, take time to reflect upon the joys of the holiday whether it’s seeing your children interact with their extended family that they don’t normally get to see or watching them open their first present on a holiday morning. This is a time that children cherish, and try to observe them as they take it all in!
Happy Holiday Season from the CI Team!
Writer: Catherine Harris, MS, CCC-SLP