It is that time of year again! Holiday time. This usually means lots of candy, no schedules and traveling. That also means lots of tantrums, at home, at your friends, at your parents, at the supermarket and anywhere else you take your child. Meltdowns can bring even the most stalwart parent to their knees. In public, all eyes seem to be on you and it is just so embarrassing. At home, it can be just as bad.
Not to worry. Here are 2 ways to help avoid those holiday tantrums:
1. Isolate Triggers
I always tell parents, don’t just throw up your hands and label children who throw a tantrum as bratty; parents need to think about the possible causes and triggers. This is especially important for holiday time, when everyone is on sensory overload. Many kids are more susceptible to meltdowns because they are sensitive to loud noises, crowds, extra bright lights, unfamiliar surroundings, changing activities to quickly, new foods, strange smells, sitting too long, moving too much, seams in their socks, tags in their clothing. These are all the things that abound during this time. Knowing what sets your child off can help you avoid it. Having this knowledge can go a long way in preventing meltdowns in public and in private, and during this time of year.
1. Recognize lousy conditions:
We all know that kids are more likely to act out, misbehave and meltdown, when they are tired, hungry or feeling overwhelmed. I always advise parents, don’t take your child on just one more errand at the end of a long day, or to the park before they have had their lunch. Also young children have a certain time of the day where they are more prone to misbehave, whine and tantrum. Being in tune with your child’s rhythm can go along way in preventing unwanted behavior.
That is all great for the rest of the year, but what about this time of year? You don’t have to take your child to every party. Make a schedule that works for you and your child. It sounds selfish, but you need to think about what is best for your child and your family. This may seem like a no- brainer, however, many parents that I talk to have been pressured by well-meaning relatives to put themselves into situations that don’t work for them. What to do? Be firm and kind, “I know it is important to have Mikey at the holiday party, but I’m truly sorry it’s not going to work out this year.”
Temper tantrums can be rough. Knowing your child’s triggers and making a schedule that works for you can go a long way in managing those meltdowns.