Here are specific ideas for little ones during the Christmas season:
De-stressing Christmas for Your Child
Christmas, with its array of bright colors, unfamiliar faces and loud noises, may cause overstimulation in young children. Make the season more enjoyable with these easy-to-implement ideas:
Spread out the festivities. Don't cram all your celebrating into a single day. Consider visiting grandparents in early December or January; open presents a few at a time, and bake cookies the week after Christmas.
Change scenery. If your child needs a break from loud noises, take him for a walk, if weather permits. Your child will benefit from one-on-one time with you.
Spend more time and less money. As much as possible, include your children in holiday traditions. Most of their memories will be about people, not presents.
Interpret the season. Unfamiliar activities crowd the December calendar. Schedule familiar activities such as attending a Christmas Eve service or baking a birthday cake for Jesus.
Keep a routine. Maintain a normal schedule as much as possible. Have your children go to bed at the usual time on Christmas Eve, and provide favorite foods as part of Christmas dinner, even if it's macaroni and cheese.
Make a contingency plan. If you celebrate with a large group, find a quiet place when your youngster gets fretful. Bring some books, music or other quiet activities.
A Stocking for Jesus
To help our children celebrate Christ's birth and to teach them to be concerned about others, our family hangs a Christmas stocking with Jesus' name on it. On Christmas Eve, we talk about what Jesus would like in His stocking. Our children have come up with ideas such as obeying their parents the first time they're asked, treating others with kindness, sharing with their siblings and showing respect to Mommy and Daddy.
This article first appeared in the November/December 2010 issue of Thriving Family magazine. Copyright © 2010 by Darlene Franklin and Danielle Crowell. Used by permission. ThrivingFamily.com.
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