Gearing Down for the Holidays

Holiday Help When you think of the holidays, what comes to mind? Do you think of parties, family, friends and presents? And do you think of happy children or hyper ones? This season should be a time of tradition and cheer, but if you find that the holidays turn your child wild, it's time for your family to gear down for the holidays.

For most of us, this is the busiest time of year. We face many demands on our time and energies -- shopping, cooking, get-togethers and other special events. Children are quick to pick up on the extra excitement that their parents are feeling. Noisy crowds and long waits in line can throw the most even-tempered child into sensory overload and cause meltdowns. What can we do to help our children (as well as ourselves) learn to slow down and savor the season? Try the following tips:

Keep your child's routine intact.
The season brings unavoidable schedule changes, such as days off from preschool or daycare. Although it sounds odd, try to stick to your child's usual wake-up, nap and bedtime schedule. Children's bodies and minds need the rest, and maintaining schedules will also help them ease back into preschool/day care after the holidays. If you want to schedule special activities, try to schedule them during your child's normal daytime hours. Although they won't say it, their attitudes will show it -- routines equal control for children. Who isn't happy when they feel in control?

Limit the sweets.
If your child is anything like mine, a little bit of sugar goes a long way! Sweets are wonderful treat for children, but when there are plenty of treats around, make sure you monitor *how much* they are eating and *when* eat they them. Don't hand out that sugary dessert if you want your child to go to bed in a half-hour!

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