The Holidays are upon us and if you have kids, you may have some concerns. Here are 10 tips to help them go smoothly.
1. Bring some quiet activities for your children to do. Check this website for free printables so you can print out coloring and activity pages. Don’t forget the crayons or markers.
2. Get your kids involved in advance. Check out this website to create your own Word Search. Have your kids make a list of every word they can think of pertaining to the holiday, then go there to put in your list, and print out Word Search puzzles. Bring them with you on that day. If you think your family will participate, go to this website and input your words to make Bingo Game Cards.
3. Prepare them in advance for situations that may make them uncomfortable. Is there an elderly relative who may be using medical equipment such as a wheelchair or oxygen, or is hard of hearing? Talk about it with your kids, at the level they can understand, in advance. You want to avoid having them point and stare. Tell them it’s OK to politely ask about something they don’t understand.
4. If your kids are picky eaters, don’t use the holiday to teach them a lesson. Keep in mind that holiday food may be different from what they’re used to eating. If they don’t want to eat their whole meal, don’t force them to, and don’t withhold dessert because you think they didn’t eat enough food. This is a day to have fun and enjoy, and not to stress over things like that. We all know the phrase “Pick your battles”, a holiday is a day to try to avoid battles. If you’re concerned, bring some food that you know they’ll eat, such as granola bars, carrots, yogurt.
5. Are there new babies in your extended family? If so, tell your kids. Maybe they’d like to bring a small gift for the new baby. Will there be other kids? They’ll love it if you bring holiday themed Goody Bags from Partypalooza.
6. Keep in mind that you absolutely love the holidays and getting to visit with relatives you don’t see often. That’s not so true for your kids. It’s a process over time for them to have those same feelings. While it’s exciting for you to sit on the couch to catch up and reminisce, it’s not the same for the kids as they don’t know the relatives well and don’t have the history you have. Boredom can lead to behavior that might not be appropriate. You can try to include them in the conversation by talking about when you were their age. “Aunt MaryAnn remembers when I was your age. Let her tell you about the time I climbed a tree and couldn’t get down.
7. Does the family you’re visiting have kids? If so, they may have a playroom full of toys and a living room full of unbreakable items. If there are no kids in the house be aware that they may have breakable items within reach. Keep an extra eye on your child so that there are no accidents. You may want to ask permission to move some of the more breakable and/or expensive items to an out of reach area. If there are no children in the house, be extra sure to bring things for your kids to do and play with.
8. Explain to your kids who will be there in language they can understand. “You know how Uncle Mike is Daddy’s brother? Well, Daddy has an Uncle named Frank who is his father’s brother” You can make a simple family tree to help them understand.
9. Will you have a long drive to get there? If so, prepare your kids for that. They may not have a concept of time, but you can relate it to something they know. “It will take as long to get there as it takes to watch one Sesame Street” is what I used to tell my kids. Bring activities and snacks for the car and be prepared for traffic. They may need a bathroom stop or two, so be aware of rest stops.
10. You want to enjoy the day and not stress over it. A little planning in advance can make the day go very smoothly. Enjoy!
This article was written by Sharon Ardito of Party Palooza.