The holidays are filled with many opportunities for family fun from craft markets to parades to family gatherings.
Very young children can become quickly overwhelmed with all of the extra activities which might make that family picture more of a disaster than a keepsake.
Disrupted sleep schedules, extra sights and sounds, shopping, increased outings, new people holding them and the general excitement and stress of the season can add to your young child’s stress. This usually equals less sleep, more tantrums, more crying, and more stress for everyone.
How can you minimize disruptions while still enjoying festivities? The activities you partake in will depend on your child’s age, and in a multi-child family, we have to take everyone into consideration.
Babies: Tiny babies can usually travel pretty well and sleep in strollers or slings. They might not be able to absorb big events like the snowflake parade, so avoid taking them to festivities unless they are accompanying older children who want to attend. Babies can enjoy listening to holiday songs, seeing colorful lights around the house, and being cuddled by their family. Take care that all family members who interact with baby are healthy and are up-to-date with vaccinations.
Toddlers: The 1-3 crowd have a growing interest in fun activities, but they can become easily overwhelmed. Try to only attend activities before or after nap times to make sure they aren’t overly tired and can actually enjoy the fun. Bring snacks and remember to scout out nearby bathrooms for potty breaks. Focus on creating fun family traditions that little ones can look forward to year after year.
School-Aged Children: These kiddos are usually passing up naps and may be able to attend events later in the day. They can help prepare holiday treats, decorate the house, and go on longer excursions when family comes to town. Seeing light displays, gingerbread house making, and ice skating are some fun options for this age group. However, they will have building levels of stress and fatigue thorough the day, so take care not to overload them with festivities and check in regularly to see how they are doing.