Hectic holiday scheduless can be stressful and exhausting even for adults—imagine what the kids feel! In fact, this season is ripe with tantrum triggers that cause even the sweetest and most well behaved kids to act up. They’re surrounded by strange people, in an unfamiliar environment. They are often overstimulated by the noise and lights, and often miss their all-important naps!
Here are some tips on how to handle holiday tantrums (without yelling!) and to minimize the embarrassment and frustration it can cause you and your child.
‘I don’t want to kiss Aunt Rita!’
It’s a little unfair to ask a young child to be affectionate with a relative she’s only seen once. But nonetheless, relatives will want to hug and kiss the child—and may be hurt or offended (sometimes even shocked) by this honest expression of personal space.
It helps to ‘prime’ your child for the party before even going there. Show pictures of relatives that he might meet there, and something interesting about them: ‘Aunt Rita has a big, friendly German Shepherd—just like the dog across our house!’ or ‘When Mommy and Aunt Rita were little girls, we would climb trees in our backyard.’ These stories and pictures will help them feel more comfortable with these strangers—even excited to meet them.
You can also teach your child other ways to greet relatives: saying ‘Nice to meet you’ or waving their hands while flashing a big smile. They may not be reasy to kiss and hug, but they can still be warm and polite.
‘But this isn’t the gift I wanted!’
We want our kids to be honest, but sometimes this honesty can reveal truths that other people shouldn’t hear! It’s confusing if you expect him to lie and say he loves a gift (and besides, kids aren’t good at lying, so the giver of the gift will still feel his disappointment).
Instead, teach your kids how to accept a gift graciously. A simple ‘Thank you’ or ‘You’re so nice to remember me’ is adequate. Emphasize, beforehand, that the holidays isn’t about the gifts but being with people who care about them.
‘I want to go home NOW!’
Even adults can relate to exactly how this feels, but kids won’t hide their emotions. To avoid this, consider your child’s age before bringing him to a holiday function. No toddler will be happy in a New Year’s party that lasts way past midnight. Bring comfort toys and books, so he can amuse himself while adults talk about boring grown-up things, and prevent crankiness by making him take a nap before you leave for the party.
Photo from sheknows.com