It’s the most wonderful time of the year…. Until your toddler has a meltdown at the shopping mall, or the family dinner, or on Christmas morning. These are the moments that leave us all rethinking this whole holiday thing. Meltdowns are a natural part of the holidays due to the later nights, limited napping time and influx of sugar, but there are some things you can do to make sure that your little one stays on the “Nice” list.
- Always be prepared with your toddler survival essentials. This is especially important during this time of the year. Bring your diaper bag or backpack filled to the brim with sippy cups, diapers (or training pants), a change of clothes, the favourite toy and snacks. No matter where you’re headed, having all of the necessities to keep them satisfied is a must.
- If your child is shy around crowds, holiday dinners might do them in. The overstimulation and intimidation of being thrust I a crowd of (what they consider to be) strangers can be frightening. Sit down with your toddler beforehand and explain “there will be a lot of people we love at dinner and they love you too! So let’s be very nice and shake their hands.” Aso it doesn’t make the scenario easier by forcing them to give hugs and kisses. Just let them do things in their own time.
- Trying to avoid a meltdown on Santa’s lap is a tricky one. The first step is, if at all possible, not to wait in a line for 2 hours. It’s frustrating, hot and boring – adults hate it too. Try to go at a less busy time of day if possible. Also, don’t force them to go by themselves or sit on his lap. Your can go ad stand near Santa and be in the picture too.
- If you’re doing some last-minute shopping, remember the cardinal toddler-in-the-mall rules: They must have their busy toys, snacks, water and essentials. A stroller is a good option too – even if they won’t sit in it, it’s great for hauling your loot. Take them when they are well rested and let them stop and look around and take in the music and decorations too. Make it a fun trip! If you sense they’ve had enough but you’re not finished shopping, take them to a bench for a break and a snack or even a short story.
- Christmas dinner can be meltdown central so the first step is to not put so much pressure on you toddler to act like a grown-up. There’s no reason to let them skip out completely or be rude at the table, but if they’ve had enough to constitute a full tummy, let them get down from the table and play beside you with a puzzle, colouring book or put on a Christmas show in a nearby room for them. That way you can finish your dinner and they’ll be having fun too.
Wishing you all a meltdown free holiday season!