‘Tis that time of the year again, and while it’s the most wonderful time, it can also be the most stressful time – especially for us parents. During the Holiday season, our parent plates get filled up with dealing with the Christmas rush, preparing our kids for their Christmas parties and recitals, dealing with our own Christmas parties, shopping for our gifts and our kids’ gifts, preparing our Holiday menus, and so on. With all these going on, we don’t need to add kids’ tantrums into the ruckus.
So if your one and only Christmas wish is to have a tantrum-free Holiday season, then here are some tips for you:
1. Try to stick to your kids’ routine.
With all the Christmas parties and get-togethers happening this season, it is quite easy to forego kids’ routines. This could lead to cranky kids as they cope best with consistency, routines, and even structures. If your kid is sensitive about changes in his/her routine, then try to stick to it the best you can during this hectic Holiday season. For special instances such as staying up late for Noche Buena, you can talk to them, set their expectations for the activity, and ask them if they want to take a nap to be better recharged. Giving them options can give them some semblance of control and structure.
2. Manage the Christmas hype.
Filipinos love Christmas, and we celebrate it the longest, oftentimes starting once the –ber months set it, and getting into overdrive once Halloween is over. And this excitement is not lost on our kids, and it could build up until Christmas morning. You can break down the hype and excitement by dividing it into stages or smaller events, so kids will have time to process each event and will always have something to look forward to in between. One week can be spent on decorating your home for Christmas, another week can be dedicated to drawing up your Christmas gift lists, another week to accomplish all your shopping, and so on. You can even consider drawing up a Christmas calendar for these weekly tasks.
3. Soothe, not spoil.
Once your child is on the brink of a tantrum, always remember – soothe, not spoil. If your child wants (and demands) a toy, gift, or even an extra hour using the iPad, changing your rules and giving in to them is spoiling them. On the other hand, sticking with your rules, not giving in, and instead talking to them is soothing them. Assuring them that you understand that they are disappointed and angry and letting them calm down and do another activity, is a great way to teach them how to cope with disappointment.
4. Do not overindulge.
Most of the time, parents can get caught up with the Holidays and go overboard especially with the presents. Always remember that your kids are also bound to receive a number of presents from loved ones – and getting one gift over the other can get pretty overwhelming even for kids. Of course, you can’t stop other family members from giving your kids gifts, but you can instead keep your own gift simple or space out the gifts throughout the Holiday season. This will prevent reinforcing unrealistic expectations, and tantrums when they don’t get what they want. Spacing out the gift receiving/opening will also give the children time to fully appreciate each one.
5. Remind them to always be grateful.
It’s quite easy to get lost in all the Christmas chaos – especially for kids. But through it all, always remind them to say “thank you” to each and every person who hands them a gift. Christmas is a great way to further instill in them gratitude.