Holiday season is probably the most awaited time of the year. With relatives and friends coming from distant cities, you may want to keep the house spotless, the decorations as pretty as can be and the holiday feast as perfect as possible. But if you have toddler in the house, this time of joy and excitement can turn into time of chaos.
The sound of your child wailing for another bowl of candies, the crashing sound of crystal glass, temper tantrum in the afternoon just when everyone is ready for dinner can turn this should-be-happy-holiday into holiday horror. There are variousreasons behind your child’s negative behavior including over excitement, over stimulation, skipping of naptime or snack time or both, etc. The following tips may help in creating a happy holiday even with toddler in the house.
Prepare your kid. Your kid may scream or cry or break things or throw a tantrum to attract attention. So before the guests arrive, give your child plenty of time with you. You can read story together, cuddle under the blanket, go shopping together, etc. Giving her much attention before you have to rush around the kitchen and greet the guests will reduce your child’s craving for attention during the whole fuss.
Be realistic. Having a perfect feast or preserving a family holiday tradition may be your whole year’s dream, but accommodating your child’s need is often more important. Do not push your child to sit still and nicely through a lengthy Christmas dinner in the name of tradition. Do not insist your child to eat the traditional holiday dinner if she prefers to have her spaghetti. However, do not exclude your child from the ritual and celebrations, but make the participation voluntary. In this case you have to lower your expectation.
Plan holiday entertainment suitable for young children. Watching a ballet performance or attending a Christmas concert is boring for children. Always keep your child in mind when deciding what kind of entertainment that you would like to have during the holidays.
Include your child in the preparations. Do not hesitate to involve your kid in the holiday preparation. Give her simple task that she could manage according to her age. For example you can ask her to help you dust the table, or decorate the Christmas tree or bake cookies.
Keep your toddler’s daily routine as usual. Avoid nap skipping as far as possible though it may be difficult to persuade your kid to take her nap while everyone in the house is busy chittering and chattering, with all those laughter and fussiness. Feed your toddler and put her to bed at usual time to prevent your child being overly tired or overly hungry. A hungry and tired child is more likely to be cranky and uncooperative.
Do not forget the children’s safety. It is not only about creating a holiday to remember, but also the holiday should be accident-free. Lock the rooms in which you keep dangerous (and valuable) items. Also close the doors to rooms or areas that should not be entered by children, for example: the kitchen or guest’s bedrooms. Remove sharp and breakable items from the rooms the children will be playing in. Put knife and other sharp objects in the sink immediately after use. Always make sure that someone is supervising your kid while you are busy in the kitchen or doing other preparation stuffs.
Let the child play with her peers. Ask children around the same age who happened to gather in the house to get together and play some games. Assign one or two (or three) adults to supervise them. You can also take them to the park or play ground. This will surely keep them occupied and allow you some time to prepare the holiday meals or clean the table. The children will have some good times too while waiting for the big feast. If you have time, plan the games before the guests arrive.
Help your kid to unwind. After the party’s over, children may need more time than adult to wind down from the holiday high. Several days after the holidays, your child might be cranky and refuse to do her routines. You can plan relaxing activities with your toddler to help her shift gear after the commotion.