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The holidays can be an exciting and wonderful time for many families. However, for parents of restless children, this can be a stressful and sometimes even embarrassing period. These parents may find themselves worrying about whether or not the child will behave during holiday gatherings, or if they will have a meltdown in front of everybody. While there is no way to guarantee that your restless child will behave at any particular time, here are some tips that you can keep in mind just in case.
Choosing The Right Activities For Restless Children
For starters, you should always have games and activities in your back pocket. That way your children can release some of that restless energy in a productive way. Do not expect your child to sit still and quiet for an entire holiday gathering. Even the best-behaved children can’t do this. Instead, bring along some hands-on activities and engaging games so they shift their focus. Speak with the hosts prior to the gathering and plan some fun activities for all the children attending.
At a Fourth of July get-together, make sure to take advantage of the warm weather have plenty of outside games to play. This could be as simple as setting up a makeshift soccer field, a cornhole game, jumping on the trampoline or preparing a slip-and-slide course.
For indoor holiday parties, such as Thanksgiving and New Year’s, consider bringing along video or board games for your child to play. If they get too restless with all that sitting, you could gather some of the other children for a game of indoor hide-and-seek. Try to think outside of the box. When kids are able to contribute, they tend to become more involved. Work together by making cookies or setting up floral arrangements. Most children, regardless of their personality, enjoy being hands-on.
For Christmas, you can create an annual tradition by trimming the tree with the family. Bring out your favorite box of Christmas decorations and give them a chance to help you garnish the home for the holidays. Be clear and intentional with your instructions, and they will be more likely to be careful and attentive. Stressing the importance of helping out for a special tradition not only includes them, but also encourages them to contribute in the future. Your child may feel a sense of significance as they have a special role in making each holiday tradition meaningful.
Knowing Your Place
Before you leave for any holiday outing, it is always a good idea to sit down with them and discuss the importance of being on their best behavior. Be very concise with your expectations, and occasionally offer them small rewards for good behavior, such as a trip to an ice cream parlor. Let your child know it’s okay to tell you if they begin to feel anxious or restless. This way you can look for solutions rather than waiting for a meltdown.
You Can Say No
Remember, you do not have to accept every holiday invitation that you receive. If you don’t have a sitter, do not feel obligated to attend an event you aren’t comfortable taking the kids to.
Overall, the holidays can still be a fun time, even for those with restless children. All it takes is planning ahead and making them feel included – and perhaps your annual holiday tradition will live on for generations to come!
Krystle Cook – the creator of Home Jobs by MOM – put her psychology degree on a shelf and dived into a pile of diapers and dishes instead. She is a wife and mother to two rambunctious boys, sweating it out in her Texas hometown. She loves cooking, DIY home projects, and family fun activities.