The Holiday season is here … there’s so much that goes on at home, school, community etc during the Holidays. It can be super overwhelming when there are so many things to do in preparation for it. If it feels that way for adults, imagine how it must be for young children in our care.
Holidays are so exciting, fun, super busy which most times alters the children’s schedules/routine leading to big emotions and tantrums sometimes.
Simple ways that we can help children co-regulate their emotions especially during the holidays:
- Plan and prepare child in advance: Walk them through the event, who will be there, what will be done, what to expect, will parents be around at the event? etc. – in simple language but covering all details in an age-appropriate manner.
- Acknowledge and validate child’s feelings: It’s ok for child to feel shy or not say hello right when guests walk in. They may need some time to warm up or soak in whats happening.
- Change of environment/Step outside: If you observe child feeling overwhelmed, take a break, step out for a walk or provide change of activity to help ease the emotion.
- Fill your child’s tank: Set aside small burst of time before stepping out /start of big event to spend quality time with your child.Hug, talk, read a book or do a simple activity together to help build your child’s love tank. This will help build ‘Connection’ – create a trusting bond between the child and caregiver. Once that’s done, the child will be more receptive to schedule changes or outings/events for the day.
- Quality over Quantity: Step back and evaluate ‘Why’ you are planning a specific holiday event instead of wanting to do it all at all times. A few activities where child is involved is better than tons of events that may overwhelm the child.
Before helping child co-regulate their emotions, do take a moment to take care of yourself: the adult(the caregiver)
“Holidaying with kids is more about making memories and spending time together”. Stay in and enjoy the present moment. Happy Holidays !!!