Keeping a consistent routine with your toddler or preschooler is a daily challenge anytime of the year. But once the Holidays hit it seems nearly impossible! Here are a few tips to help ensure the last couple of months of your year are as stress free as possible!
Get Those Zzzz’s
Once Daylight Saving’s Time occurs it seems as if the nighttime routine is harder to maintain. Toddlers don’t understand why their bodies are not tired when you’re trying to put them to bed (even though they woke up and hour earlier that day!) and preschoolers find even more clever excuses to extend “light’s out”. Stand firm and stick to your general routine. Even if the child doesn’t fall asleep at the exact time he/she normally does it won’t take as long to adapt as you’d think. Also, with all of those Holiday Party invitations babysitters are called upon more frequently and many times this is during the week. Communicate with your evening caregiver the specifics of your child’s routine. Your babysitter (and your next morning) will appreciate you!
Minimize the Treats
Halloween candy kicks off the treats and the trick is it doesn’t seem to end until the New Year! In between are Holiday parties, neighbor gift goodies, and of course those candy canes and cookie exchanges! A little indulgence is deserved by all but be mindful of how they affect your preschooler. Toddlers especially can be sensitive to excess sugar and before you know it their tummies are not happy and neither is their demeanor. Preschoolers are notorious for begging for “just one more” and ‘tis the season turns into habit. Implement a “one treat per day” rule. Older children may choose to take it in their lunch box; preschoolers may ask for it after dinner. Furthermore, slide in some “healthy treats” that are new and fun. Zuchinni bread… carrot oatmeal cookies… even something as simple as warming a glass of milk just before bedtime can be a “treat” without feeling like you are allowing the sugar monster to join your family!
Your calendar from November to January is often filled with miles logged traveling. Convenience seems to dominate everything and routines are often sacrificed. When possible, schedule travel times when your child is sleeping. Shorter trips can be planned during naptime; longer [car] trips occasionally are easier at night. Once you reach your destination – enlist the help of family and friends to ensure your preschooler maintains consistency. Set some ground rules in an attempt to minimize the spoil factor. Save some of the special moments like snow man building and story times for others but with so many “helpers” it is sometimes best to still be the primary one to manage meals and sleep schedules for your Toddler. The extra help is nice but you know your child better than anyone!
All in all a little relaxation on any schedule is warranted during the Holiday season. However, moderation is assuredly the key. Though children don’t realize it – they thrive on routine. With so many variables different during the Holidays (new faces, new foods, and even new places to visit!) maintaining a schedule your preschooler is accustomed to will minimize your stress and maximize everyone’s chance at having a wonderful time!