Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Surving the holidays with toddlers.

How can you reduce stress for you and your little ones.

I'm not going to get into a long winded speech about why holiday are stressful on little ones, I'm just cutting to good stuff. What can we do about it?

1. Outings. Make only 1 or 2 stops in a day. Do not go all day to the mall, stop off at shoppers, pick something up from the post office and then squeeze in grabbing milk at walmart. It isn’t' fair the little ones your dragging with you. Plan better. Plan your week and only tackle about 2 stops before naps and 2 stops after. MAX

2. Keep 'em busy. Create tasks/crafts/bags that are toddler friendly. Have a basket above your fridge filled with new books, toys and busy bags for toddlers to play with. Stuff they haven't seen before when your busy on the phone or a unexpected guest stops by and needs your attention.

3. The tree. Allow your toddlers to help put up decorations. Let them decorate the half the tree they can reach. Blocking your tree off just has your babies more curious and find ways to get at the tree to pull it apart. Instead take the time to 'teach' them how to be gentle and how to put the ornaments on the tree. Make sure the stuff they can touch are baby friendly.

4. Gear shifting. Introduce simple songs to help with transitions. A 'clean up' song or a 'goodbye' song can be enough of a trigger to help relieve the stress of being taken to and from places abruptly. We all like to know, 'what's next' so make sure your telling your toddler the agenda.

5. Errands. Have a holiday schedule for yourself and your children. Knowing what to expect in the day will dramatically reduce stress. We have a fridge schedule, that tells us if we are going out to a
playdate/preschool/party that day. If we are baking cookies, doing crafts or driving to see Christmas lights. Let them know what to expect in the day.

6. Parties. We are not the same some of us love lots of company, some of us can only handle 2-3 people at a time. If your attending a Christmas party, remember to read your toddlers signals, they may be getting tired, hungry or overstimulated. Cases of biting and hitting increase around the holidays for some of these reasons. Keep your party short, be prepared to go home early or have good sitters in place if you know your toddler won't last. When something does happen, pick up the baby and give them a hug, ask them if they are tired or hungry. Guess on how they may be feeling and think about leaving for home.

7. Food. Ahhh... the cookie season. Increased wheat and sugar during this time of year can spike your children's sugar levels and disallow logical thinking skills. Try to hold off on giving too many treats in the day. Or buy special treats like raspberries and mango (expensive this time of year, but worth it) Cut their sugars with water/fresh veggies/protein. Keep out water all day long on the counter in their sippies. Get rid of juice for the month. Take your treats you get from friends and family and regift or put them away, so you have control on when they get them. Don't give any sugar treats an hour before bed. Best time of day is mid day when you are out and about.

8. Breathe. Start with yoga in the morning. A great utube video you can look up is called, "Cosmic Kids" It's fun yoga for kids. Talk to them and let them try it out with you. Funny to watch toddlers do this. It teaches them you value meditation, relaxation, breathing. It shows them how to take care of yourself first, so you can tackle the day.

9. Santa. If you know your little one may be shy or nervous with the big guy. Opt to NOT have them sit on Santa's lap, but allow them to see and talk with him from afar. The lines can be stressful and nerve racking as well for kids, making the hype increase as they wait. Highstreet in Abbotsford texts you when it's your turn and you get a private meet with Santa. No lines, and no loud distractions or crying when you visit.

10. Presents. Keep it simple. Toddlers don't need a lot of extra 'things' to play with. Keep it down to 2 toys, some clothes and ask grandparents to give the gift of money for soccer/swimming/signing/gym time etc. Keep sugar out of the stockings. Add a few toys and some slippers, an orange and raisin boxes.

Happy Holidays!