As the holiday season approaches, there are new and exciting ways to introduce vocabulary, cultural symbols, and storytelling to our children. Some of us will even see our relatives for the first time since the pandemic hit. The world is slowly opening up. For those of us who’ve been in a bubble, the festivities may be nerve-wracking.
MEETING NEW PEOPLE
Manage your child’s expectations when visiting new homes. Respect their comfort level and give them choices. A friend or relative of yours is still a stranger in your child’s eyes. Start with saying hello, then maybe a high five, and if they want, a hug as the child warms up. Please don’t force them.
KEEP A SCHEDULE
Check your scheduled event and work backward. Suppose you have a dinner on Friday. Make sure they nap on Friday. Schedule your evening walk on Thursday. Wednesday might include some nature play. Don’t stack events back to back, so they are cranky and uncooperative when the dinner time comes. Bring a few things they like – snacks, toys or tablet. Something familiar will ease any stress and anxiety and promote curiosity in the new environment.
Some families have traditions about gifting. Setting limitations on how and what they will get actually teaches gratitude and appreciation for what they have. Suggestions include the three gift max: one to learn, one they want, and one activity.
The key to a stress-free season when managing the little ones is to think ahead, be empathetic to the big emotions in these tiny people, who grow and change every day.