Holiday events with your family can be hard for adults, but they can be even tougher on toddlers and small kids. When you dress your kids in outfits they don’t like and drag them off to an unfamiliar house where they are totally overstimulated by noise, lights, and lots of sugar there is inevitability going to be a behavior blowback. Usually by the time a fourth adult relative that my daughter doesn’t know tries to force her to give a hug or tries to pinch her cheek I see her face wrinkle and I know that her banshee wail of torment is about to burst out of her mouth.
It happens to every parent at some point. But it’s embarrassing, and it can really put a damper on a party. Not to mention that it can take your kids days to recover from a holiday meltdown at a family party. So over the years, I’ve learned some tips to help prevent these holiday horrors that turn your adorable children into screaming, crying, and angry little beings that cannot be calmed down. Here are a few of the ways that you can prevent meltdowns at mandatory family gatherings this year:
Wear Them Out
If the holiday event that you’re going to is an evening party or dinner make sure that you take your child out to an activity or for a rousing playtime before you go to the event. A lot of physical activity will tire your child out and make them more likely to just sleep through the event. Since we live in an area where it snows often during the winter I will take the kids to the park to go sledding or to play in the snow before heading to a family event. After an hour or so outdoors playing hard by the time I get them changed and we arrive at the party, they are ready for a good long nap. Usually, I am able to put my daughter down in a quiet bedroom and have her sleep through the party.
Feed Them First
A hungry child is a child that is going to try to eat every bit of sugar they can at grandma’s house, or at whatever relative’s house, you’re going to. And because it’s the holidays there will be chips, candy, and other foods that your child should not be eating if you ever want them to sleep again everywhere. Feed your child a small healthy meal just before you go to the party so that they won’t be hungry and looking to devour everything in sight. And that way if dinner is late they won’t go into a meltdown because they are hungry.
Give Them Quiet Time
Usually, kids who start to have a meltdown are overwhelmed by the sights, smells, and sounds of an unfamiliar place crowded with adults. When you see your child getting overwhelmed by everything around them take them to a quiet part of the house and sit with them until they relax.
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