The holidays can be a fun and festive time.
Unfortunately they can also be busy, rushed and stressful, and that can cause your children to be less than festive themselves. Here are some tips to keep your holidays happy. All that you have to do is keep K.I.D.S. in mind.
- Respect your child’s wish not to be touched. We often enforce to our children: We do not to let people touch our bodies if we do not want them to, but we seem to forget that speech on the holidays. It is your child’s body and she may not want it hugged or kissed, even by Grandma. Sometimes relatives can get upset or offended by the refusals, but remember that you are an advocate for your child. If your child says NO, it is NO.
- Your child may not remember that family member who is standing in front of him waiting for some affection. If that is the case, he will probably not want to give or receive kisses. A year, and even just a few months, is a long time for a child to remember someone that he met in passing at a large celebration.
- Have a discussion with your child before you head to holiday events. Explain to your child that many people will know her and want to say hello. Reassure her that she does not have to hug or kiss anyone, but that you would like her to wave, nod, smile… Get to the event a little early if you have a young or slow-to-warm-up child, so that she can settle in and she is not bombarded with relatives as soon as she walks in the door.
- Holiday dinners and events can be very long for a young – and not so young – child. Bring toys and activities to hold his interest if the home that you are going to does not have kid books, kid friendly computers or the like.
- There is a lot of talking that goes on at the holidays, but not much to engage a child. If your child tries to get into a conversation, give him room and try to get others to do the same. Take his addition to the conversation seriously. It may help him feel more a part of the group and keep him at the table a bit longer if that is a goal of yours.
- Give your children as much information as you can. Children feel much more comfortable when they know what is going on, and comfortable children are cooperative children.
- Information to give: Who will be at the event, where is the event, what is for dinner, what will be expected of them. If you do not know all the answers, give as much info as you can.
- If your sister keeps talking about her kids who are on the Dean’s list and your kid is struggling in math (which is normal).
- If your kid is the one who burps at the table (you know you think it’s funny).
- If your parent insults your parenting style, your partner, your job, your outfit… (we have all been there)
- If discipline is needed (take your child into a quiet room and focus on it calmly there).
- Staying calm will help you handle bumpy holiday situations with grace. Staying calm will help you parent the way that you believe in. You were a great parent and person before you walked into the party – just keep that in mind.
- If worse comes to worst, fake a headache and book it to the car and peace of your own home.
Brandi Davis, ACC, is a professional Parenting Coach, Parent Educator, and Author of O.K. I’m A Parent Now What? She can also be found on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and be sure to catch her parenting podcasts on iTunes. The goal of Brandi’s practice is to bring respect, calm communication, teamwork, and FUN into the home or classroom. To discover all that Child and Family Coaching can bring to your family stop by www.childandfamilycoaching.com.