The holidays can be a jam-packed 3 weeks and the week of Christmas can have you doing multiple holiday activities and family get-togethers all in one day!

We have all been there, you are having an awesome time with your kids attending a festive activity; seeing Christmas lights, going ice skating, or having dinner with the grandparents, and then everyone hits a wall and you have to drag, carry or plead with your kids to leave. Some meltdowns just happen but many can be avoided this holiday season with a few simple tips.

No Other Season Like the Holiday Season

This is the busiest time of year where your schedule is packed with endless amounts of crafts, holiday activities, or dinners for an entire month. How can we resist the Christmas Train, Ice Skating, Christmas light gardens or seeing performances of the Nutcracker, Disney on Ice and school plays. The holidays come with great family-friendly activities and they are a lot of fun. They are also time consuming and sometimes, when you have little kids, they can become overwhelming.

The Dreaded Transitions

On a regular day, transitioning from playing at home to leaving the house with small kids can be an event in and of itself. When younger children are out and about with their parents or grandparents, they are usually on their best or—at least, better behaviour. It takes a lot for a young child to stay in long lineups for a long period of time—and when they are done, they are done. Acting “good” for other people and situations can be mentally exhausting for younger children. This mental exhaustion is usually expressed through poor behaviour, or a meltdown from a simple request or action, like asking your child to put on their shoes to go home.

Top 5 Tips for Kids To Make it Through this Holiday Season

What is there to do when we have a different holiday activity almost every other day? We take a deep breath, remember the memories we are going to make and we follow these simple steps.

  1. Feed your kids before you leave the house and pack snacks and water bottles for ALL events. Even if you are going somewhere that is serving food, feed your kids prior to going. Dinners are normally not served on time and kids can be picky when trying something new. They can end up eating next to nothing or just fill up on bread. Food makes everything better! We joke about adults getting ‘hangry’, kids do as well, but it usually resembles complete devastation and the world is ending.
  2. Bring along a favourite toy or activity. The dollar store has great crafts or coloring books that you can bring in your purse or car as an emergency distraction. Tell your kids to bring a toy for the car ride and, if needed, they can carry around (but try not to leave it at the skating rink).
  3. Change of clothing/extra layers. A cold child is a very unhappy child. I have an extra change of clothing that stays in the car and in the winter we always make sure we have extra gloves and hand warmers at the ready.
  4. Sometimes just say NO and don’t go. It is better to just say no, or leave early, to avoid a situation. If the holiday activity is at the wrong time of day, or if your children are more tired than usual that day, you will likely have some unhappy kids. Politely decline or if appropriate have just one parent make an appearance.
  5. Reduce noise and clutter. Try and keep on top of clutter, this can help immensely when you get home from a family dinner or any daylong festivity. Kids, just like adults, deal better with a clear and calm environment. If you come home to a house turned upside down and in complete chaos, your kids will reflect that environment into their behaviour. Andrea Nair, a parenting educator, discusses this in regards to after school collapse. Andrea states that when you walk in the door and are done with the day and you see more mess, no one including the kids can relax. This is true for parents as well. This is why minimalism has taken off, but that is for another post!

Eat, Drink and be Sane

The point of the holiday season is to spend time with the ones we love, so make it enjoyable for both parents and the kids. Take a deep breath, enjoy the moment and your kids. Your kids will remember the time spent together and thank you for just being there.