by Rachel Paxton
The holiday season can be stressful if we try to do too much, but throw in a couple of toddlers and things can become very overwhelming quickly, not to mention stressful for your kids!
Here are some toddler tips to help make your holiday season more enjoyable for the entire family:
Try as much as possible to include your toddlers in holiday activities. At this age they like to "help," and if you include them in what you are doing it often reduces the possibility of temper tantrums.
My boys enjoyed helping me decorate our Christmas tree. We debated whether or not to let them touch the tree, but we found that they really just wanted to play with the ornaments. We put all breakable ornaments up out of their reach and hung non-breakable ornaments where they could touch them and play with them. Every morning they pull the bottom ornaments off the tree and throw them on the floor. For the most part they leave the tree alone the rest of the day. At night I hang the ornaments back up, and the next morning we start over again. The boys think this is really fun.
I turn our outside Christmas lights off and on at the same times every day. The boys look forward to when I turn all the lights on and remind me if I forget. They love looking at our lighted "reindeer" out the front window. You could also take the family on a drive around the neighborhood to look at holiday lights.
When you're visiting friends and family during the holidays, try to minimize any disruption to your toddler's schedule as much as possible. If your toddler continues to eat and sleep at the same times as normal, he or she will be much better able to cope with holiday festivities.
Try to resist the urge to give your toddler too many holiday sweets. At Thanksgiving I made the mistake of giving our boys a tiny taste of homemade fudge, and then they wouldn't leave me alone. It's amazing how boys who can't remember not to bite each other can remember where mom hid the candy.
The holidays are a great time to introduce new DVD's and CD's to your toddlers. Yes, Elmo has a decent Christmas DVD. It's a nice change to the other two Elmo movies we watch every day.
I did a lot of my Christmas shopping online this year to avoid dragging the boys to the mall. I'm too tired to go out after they go to bed at night. It's nice having things delivered to your front door! Many web sites offer free shipping this time of year.
Don't feel like you have to buy your toddlers tons of presents for Christmas. At this age they're more interested in how much they like a toy, not how many they have. Now if I can just convince the rest of our family of that. If your toddler receives too many presents for Christmas, put some away for a rainy day or for when the toys he or she is playing with lose their appeal.
Toddlers love books. Don't forget the "reason for the season". Read the nativity story to your toddlers and introduce them to the baby Jesus.
That's about it! I love this time of year and these simple tips have made our family's holiday season fun and nearly stress free!
Rachel Paxton is a freelance writer and mom who is the author of What's for Dinner?, an e-cookbook containing more than 250 quick easy dinner ideas. For more recipes, organizing tips, home decorating, crafts, holiday hints, and more, visit Creative Homemaking.
Copyright © Rachel Paxton. Permission to republish granted to Pregnancy.org, LLC.