Holiday Parent SKILLZ Tips
Although the holidays are a time of traditions and family moments, the hustle and bustle often leaves children feeling disconnected from their parents. There is so much preparation that quality time becomes an afterthought. This often leads to behavior problems for children and frustration for parents.
Even though there is so much to do, it is important for parents to remember that children are the most responsive and happy are when they are most connected with their parents.
To prevent protentional behavior problems, spend quality time each day with your child by doing activities such as wrapping gifts or baking together. Let your child feel that they are a part of all the activities and allow them to take the lead too.
2 - Attunement
The holidays are supposed to be a time of joy but children often become overwhelmed due to the increased amounts of stimuli in the environment. This can lead to crankiness and parents often misread this behavior and assume their child is being unappreciative.
It’s important for parents to know where their child is in his or her stage of development so that they can understand what’s “developmentally appropriate.” Attunement all comes down to how well you know your child and their moods, and how well you know yourself.
To prevent protentional behavior problems, keep some schedules in place such as snack times and bedtimes. Tune in to your child so you can more easily understand when they are feeling overwhelmed. Remember, even the most mellow of children can feel the pressure of the holidays but it’s even more difficult for younger children and those with some sort of sensory processing disorder.
3 - Patience
During the holiday season parents spend the majority of their time shopping, cooking, attending events, and running errands. The busyness has them running in circles and patience wears thing. This is more apparent when children act out during this time and parents respond with too much anger. This leaves everyone feeling terrible.
A better approach is to take a few extra seconds when responding. This demonstrates compassion, empathy, and self-control on the part of the parent. Sometimes all you need to do is think about responding in the most patient manner to help re-direct your child.
To prevent protentional behavior problems, take a few extra seconds before responding to poor behavior. Since children can feel overwhelmed talk to them about the behavior and give them a do-over. Use the holidays as a time to provide teaching moments and instill empathy.
4 - Prompting
When the holiday season is in full effect, children can become overly eager and anxious about all the exciting things around them. Because of this they may make some poor behavior choices because they have difficulty controlling how they are feeling.
The holidays are a busy time so it can be difficult for parents to stop unwanted behaviors before they start. However, due to the overwhelming environmental stimuli, children need prompting to help them maximize good behavior.
To prevent potential behavior problems, give children clear rules and expectations for the holidays and events that you attend. Also, work on catching them making good behavior choices and compliment them as they happen.
5 - Edutainment
The holidays should be a time of fun but the pleasure of it all often gets sidelined when the stress of all the expectations take over. With all the craziness of the season, children need their parents to be even more available.
Teaching children how to navigate through the hustle and bustle is a challenge. It requires that parents find ways to teach their children how to get through the holiday to-do lists in a fun way.
To prevent potential problems, instead of criticizing your child for not wrapping a gift properly, make it fun by saying something like: “Let’s see who can make their gift wrapping look the most creative, me or you! If you can make your gift wrapping more creative than mine, then I will play a game of your choice once we are done. But before we compete, let me show you the different things we have to use for wrapping.”
6 - Nurturing
The holidays are a season of giving, a season of patience, a season of all things warm and inviting. And while it is all magical, the reality of new rules and expectations for holiday events can leave children feeling uneasy.
Children aren’t born with the proper sense of good behavior. Just like adults, mistakes are how they learn, so be sure to look at mistakes as opportunities for education versus punishment.
To prevent problems from getting worse, when your child makes a mistake during a holiday event, show them love and warmth by addressing the behavior in a manner which helps your child learn and grow, which therefore keeps the holiday spirit alive.
7 - Adaptability
When the holiday season comes along, routines are upended and are replaced by parties, errands, and late nights. The magical stuff becomes chaos and children are expected to be on their best behavior.
But children have a variety of great days, bad days, and everything in between. And unfortunately, moodiness can be at an all-time high during the holidays due to the over-stimulation in the environment. The best way to parent during these times is by being adaptable to your child’s changing moods.
To help alleviate problems, it is important to have a clear sense of the overwhelming feelings children may experience during the holidays and how that affects their behavior. Knowing what to expect from your child when they are over-stimulated will help you choose the best possible way to react in the moment.
8 - Consistency
During the holiday season, all the fun events are exciting, but these things contribute to changes in routines. Children need structure so these changes often make them anxious and overwhelmed.
This time of year, it is vital that parents remain as consistent as possible in the rules and expectations that they have. And although there will be changes, keeping some routines intact will benefit everyone.
To prevent potential problems, your child needs to know that no matter what happens, you are always going to be a consistent parent. Maintaining consistency means that you are going to be patient, connected, adaptable, and edutaining so when they are feeling overwhelmed by the hustle and bustle, they feel safe and secure knowing that you will provide a stable place for them.