The holiday season is upon us, and most parents and caregivers find themselves dreaming of family gatherings filled with warmth and generosity, surrounded by children who are well behaved, polite and most of all, happy.
For many families, however, those picture-perfect images are often all too quickly replaced with the harsh realities of handling some of our children’s less than perfect behaviors. Parents can find themselves feeling frustrated, angry, and resentful, as our children seem to fall apart right when we most wish, and need, them to hold it together.
One of the best ways you can support your children is to take time to recognize and appreciate your children’s unique approach to the world. The holidays flow much more smoothly when you consider what each child needs to feel comfortable and successful in any given situation.
Being tuned in to your children’s temperament helps you to organize your children’s environment so that behaviors can flow more smoothly, and you can provide a more enjoyable experience for everyone involved.
- Children who have difficulty coping with changes in routines may need your help to forewarn them about those changes and they may need more time to adjust and transition from one activity to another.
- Children who are sensitive to lots of stimuli, like crowded malls and noisy parties, may need access to quiet places where they can unwind and calm down.
- Children who are shy around relatives they have not seen in a while may need your permission to slowly ease into family gatherings and may need your reassurance before they feel comfortable in new situations.
- Children with high activity levels may need to be given acceptable outlets for their energy.
Finding the balance between meeting your needs for creating a memorable holiday and your children’s needs to act like children can be tricky. By honoring the qualities that make your children special and understanding their unique approach to the holidays, you provide a gift that will help you and your family have a smoother and more enjoyable holiday season. Also, remember that no matter what occasion your family celebrates during the holidays, you’ll find the gift of learning through play all season long at Explore & More – Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Children’s Museum.
Director of Strategic & Community Initiatives