I love the holiday season and I love spending time with my family. What I do not love are meltdowns. They are pretty unavoidable when it comes to babies and toddlers. Let’s be real, holidays are kind of the perfect storm for meltdowns, but there are for sure some things you can do to help prevent them and keep them to a minimum. That way everyone can truly enjoy the holiday events.
1. Provide Some Consistency
Holidays inevitably come with a change in routine. Boundaries tend to expand a bit and parents often say ‘yes’ to things that they would usually say ‘no’ to. This is fine (within reason) but for babies and toddlers, there still needs to be some amount of consistency. Be flexible and allow them to have fun, but try to incorporate at least a little of their usual routine, especially around bedtime. This is even more important if your holiday is longer than just one day. A day out of routine isn’t a big deal at all, but as soon as those days become consecutive things can start to fall apart.
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2. Make Rest Time Compulsory
This is super important for young babies but still important for toddlers. An overtired baby/toddler is often a ready invitation for a meltdown. For little babies, wearing them in a wrap can be enough to provide them with the rest they need, but for older babies, you may need to find a quiet corner to set up a sleeping space for them. I know that my toddler finds it almost impossible to nap when we are away from home now, so instead of enforcing a nap, I just put him in his bed for an hour with some books. It is SO important to enforce rest time. Holidays are typically fun, full, and overflowing with stimulation. It can be a lot for little minds to process, so allowing them some rest time will go a long way in preventing meltdowns. See below for my favourite products to provide good sleep environments for my kiddos when away from home:
3. Know When To Say ‘No’
Again, let your kids have fun. Maybe let your toddler skip their nap, but be sure to have a reasonable bedtime. Let Aunt Agatha hold the newborn for a nap, but then put the baby in the carrier or bassinet for the next one. Grandpa may very well be handing out sweets to the grandkids, but don’t be afraid to say ‘no’ when you know it’s time to reign it in.
Families love to participate in the lives of little children, and understandably so. However, newborns become easily overstimulated, and toddlers can too when everyone is in their face, so don’t be afraid of being assertive and putting some boundaries in place. It will ultimately make the holidays so much more enjoyable for everyone.
4. Show Grace
Lastly, have a little grace. Be expectant of meltdowns and tantrums. Remember that your child is going to be in a highly stimulating situation and out of their normal routine. Do your best to create the optimum environment for them, but if they do lose the plot, then show grace. 🙂 And remember to see their behaviour in context. You are their calm and their anchor.
I hope these tips were helpful and that you’re as excited about the upcoming holiday season as I am! Share with me your tips for minimising meltdowns in the comments below.
Until next time!