Hello and thank you for hopping over from meandbmaketea.com and welcome to the 1st day of #12DaysOfParenting. Today’s sponsor is More2Explore who are offering an Adventure Belt and the theme is Preparing to survive the holidays! My keyword to enter today’s giveaway is in this post below, good luck! Full details of the #12DaysOfParenting terms and conditions can be found on the #12DaysOfParenting page and all entries are to be completed via the Rafflecopter at the bottom of this post.
Christmas is an exciting time of the year, the tree, the singing, food, lights and the apprehension of Santa’s visit can mount up to make, over excited and cranky kids. In the spirit of this, we thought it would e a great idea to offer 11 ways to prepare your child for Christmas and hopefully reduce the over excitement. With 5 kids i am well-versed with the growing excitement of the holidays and have my own personal strategies to cope with this. Particularly useful for my son with special needs, who struggles a lot around this time of the year.
1 – Create a routine
Routine is very under-rated, especially for little ones. Knowing what is happening or coming up next can help a child feel a sense of control when everything else is so different to normal. So create a routine around each activity, one that suits your family circumstances. Keep bedtimes and wake-ups at a similar time. Incorporate Christmas into these things to help them get used to the new sights and sounds. Visual charts can help or just having a good chat around the breakfast table about what will be happening that day. Some Children take the change in their stride but for many, it can be a source of overwhelm which can result in overexcited behaviours that sadly often get children in trouble.
2 – Plenty of sleep
With excitement often comes less sleep, so keep to a bedtime routine and if sleep is starting to become an issue you can try some winding down activities.
Warm milk at bedtime
Using lavender on pillows
Warm bath before bed
Reading at bedtime
Staying with your child until they fall asleep
Keep sugar and stimulants to a minimum
3 – Keep the sugar to a minimum
Foods can often be the place where we are unwittingly causing our children to become more stimulated than needed. E numbers and additives sneak into foods sometimes without us knowing. Sugar isn’t necessarily a stimulant as some believe but it can precipitate a boom and bust mood which can cause behaviours to be unpredictable. At this time of year, we want to indulge both ourselves and children. So try to monitor what is going in and expect a few ups and downs when additives are given. There are plenty of delicious foods out there that are additive free and seasonal. Make the most of these.
4 – Be more understanding
Its essential in my opinion to exercise a good amount of understanding at this time of the year. As adults we have honed our skills at keeping a status quo in times of excitement, sometimes even we can’t do this. Little people do not yet have these skills as firmly mapped and being understanding to this will help to reduce any battles around this time of the year. I would always suggest never using ‘naughty lists’ or ‘Elf on the shelf’ to shame your child into good behaviours or berate them for any overexcitement and being less than perfect. This will erode their confidence and longer-term affect their relationship with you. Fear can seem like a good incentive to ‘do well’. But fear comes unstuck when they still are rewarded at the end anyway. Find a different way to incentivise them to do better, through communication and understanding.
5 – Model calmness but also excitement
Modelling behaviours are the number one way to teach a child your expectations. It also helps them navigate what is appropriate and how to manage their behaviours in time of stress. Modelling calmness to help them keep a status quo. Equally, modelling excitement can show them how to manage it in a fun and nonpunishable way. This will ripple into other areas of their life and will be an investment for you in future years.
6 – Be present
In our culture, we have become very reliant on screentime, game consoles and toys as a means to babysit our children. Whilst this isn’t an entirely bad idea, remember to be present for them. Kids will not remember the latest game you bought them, but they will remember the time you spent and the feeling of being surrounded by love and attention. Teaching the real reason behind Christmas and that friends and family are what enriches our lives, not the gifts we receive.
7 – Discuss whats going to be happening
Talking ahead about time what will be happening can help put a timeline for your child. Things will likely have changed and you can help to grease the wheels of change by inviting conversation on the things that will be happening in the hours or days ahead.
8 – Get child involved
Doing Christmas activities can be an excellent way to focus a child on the festivities and keep their excited minds occupied. In our house, we do activities like making salt dough gifts. Making hanging decorations to create a winter wonderland in our lounge. We make cards, listen to Christmas music and watch Christmas themed movies. Doing these kinds of things together really strengthens our bond and helps us reconnect after all the excitement. There is also the element learning in each activity. Planning menus, drawing pictures any way we can involve them really helps to avoid conflict.
9 – Keep them feed and watered regularly
We will be super busy, so don’t forget that regular healthy snack and drinks will help to keep the hangar at bay! Stabile blood sugar directly influences moods, which can only be a positive thing for everyone involved.
10 – Give them some input
Allowing your kids to have a say in what is happening will validate their importance within the family dyad as well as building security and confidence. It will also help them to identify their needs and express these as needed. Having a say will benefit everyone, you will know what they want, they will feel understood and everyone will be happier.
11 – Enjoy
This is the most important thing to do – enjoy the time. Childhood is fleeting and those special times when the magic of Christmas is reflected in your child’s eye will be gone in the blink of an eye, so enjoy every drop those memories will serve you for many years to come. They will be talked about and remembered with fondness forever, make the most of them.
Today’s Codeword is: SANTA if you would like to read another post and gain another entry, then head over to Welsh Mum for their take on Preparing to survive the holidays.
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