The winter holidays are touted as “simply magical” for children, filled with family, love and fun. The reality is that most early childhood holiday memories are made up of meltdowns, tantrums and absolute conniptions. No one wants that!
Whether you are celebrating Hanukkah, the Solstice, Mawlid Un Nabi, Christmas or Kwanzaa, Alzein Pediatric Associates has helpful advice to get everyone through December in a happy and healthy mood.
Respect your child’s sleep patterns.
Grandma wants to bake a special dessert at 1 pm, but your toddler is usually napping at that time. Your husband’s family wants to open gifts after a late night service, but your child’s bedtime is 7:30 pm on the dot. Gently but firmly tell relatives that exhausted crying jags will be avoided by rescheduling or by allowing your child to sleep through these traditions until they are in kindergarten.
Respect your child’s stomach.
Your toddler or preschooler may have a limited range of preferred tastes right now – and that is what his stomach is used to. Monitor enthusiastic family members who want to encourage your child to taste everything and kindly explain your child’s dietary preferences. Intense spices, fried foods, baked goods and other unusual “holiday-only” dishes can upset small tummies, causing not only unpleasant moods and obnoxious behavior, but vomiting and diarrhea.
Respect your child’s personal space.
To you, Auntie is a beloved relative you visit with every week via Facetime. To your toddler, Auntie is an absolute stranger that suddenly shows up and wants the same affection reserved for Mom and Dad. Give your child time and space to get to know Auntie and overcome natural, healthy reservations. Set up Auntie and your child with a favorite book or game. Encourage that they share experiences and develop a friendly, trusting relationship before exchanging enthusiastic hugs.
Above all, your child needs you to be a kind but firm advocate with extended family and friends during any celebrations and visits. If you have any questions or need advice to navigate exuberant relatives, please call Alzein Pediatric Associates. We’ll be happy to help!