Parenting Tips: Preventing Holiday Meltdowns
PREVENTING HOLIDAY MELTDOWNS
Holidays and changes in routine can be hard for some children. If you expect this to be true for your child, plan ahead for this upcoming holiday. To help your child be successful, minimize schedule changes, keep travel limited, ensure enough “down time,” and monitor dietary intake and hydration. Have conversations, and perhaps role-play, with your child about how new experiences will look and feel, like eating at the “kids’ table,” the family watching a parade or football when the child might normally watch a different program, or grandparents wanting hugs.
It may be helpful to have your child identify and rehearse some calming tools or phrases if he/she feels overwhelmed or frustrated over the holiday events, like asking for some quiet time with only a parent, or keeping a favorite blanket nearby, or practicing deep breathing. (A fun way to teach kids deep breathing is to cup your hands in front of your face like a pretend bowl of soup, and “smell” it by breathing in deeply through your nose, and then “cool it off” by blowing long and slowly through pursed lips.) Discuss possible triggers and coping skills with your spouse, and if it could be helpful, with older siblings and extended family and friends, so they can step in if you are distracted for a bit.
In sum, pay attention to your child’s needs, plan ahead, and keep your schedule flexible enough to meet your child’s needs when they arise.
We pray you have a wonderful Thanksgiving!
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