Surviving the holidays

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Cali26's picture
Joined: 02/01/07
Posts: 1040
Surviving the holidays

This time of year used to be my favorite (and I still love it), but now with kids, I'm finding it more difficult to be flexible with our schedule and routine. We have multiple family celebrations during this time of year with our various families and I'm finding that we seem to be cramming too much into the month. The boys struggled with missing naptime, going to bed late, eating (or not eating) non-preferred foods, etc., etc., which ultimately resulted in some major meltdowns. I'm trying to make this week fairly calm for them and I plan on sending them to school part time (to maintain their routine and so that they participate in their holiday parties), but starting Thursday night, we will be doing things straight through Monday.

Do you do anything special to keep your kids routines during these times? Do your kids adjust ok when you do so much out of routine (sleep, in particular)? Am I crazy for worrying about minimizing meltdowns during the holidays??

Lavender444's picture
Joined: 03/27/03
Posts: 1944

You're not crazy at all! Meltdowns make life most hard for you! Andrew seems to take days to recover from several days of a schedule change, so I try hard to minimize them for my own mental health.

I go to events we are able to, skip those that would make the day too busy and hope people understand. Thankfully this year our family was great about working with us. We use to try to jam 3 parties into one day. Now we'll do something with my Mom on Christmas Eve, host a small brunch at our house Christmas morning then do stuff with my Dad's side of the family in the afternoon, and do dinner with the IL's the day after Christmas. It will be busy days for me (I have to go into work at 7pm Christmas eve and Christmas Day) but for the kiddos it should be okay.

Jenn0113's picture
Joined: 03/09/07
Posts: 5335

Our Decembers are nuts. Between Christmas and family birthdays we have several parties to attend and sometimes we have multiple in one weekend. Fortunately, Deacon adjusts easily and we can get away with it all. However, after a while you just get sick of seeing your kid get "one more treat" from someone that thinks its just that one they have had. Or parties that don't allow any time for a nap or something. I can see where its not bad for us now but soon its about to get rough when we add another child into the mix.

alwayssmile's picture
Joined: 08/26/07
Posts: 14483

Honestly, it's this time of year that makes me grateful to being living far from home. If we choose we can avoid both families and my extended family gathering....on top of all the stuff going on with friends there. It's rough when we do go home and visit and it's not during the holidays! I love them, but I'd like to keep everything calm and enjoy happy Aiden (as opposed to melt down Aiden). We're going as far as to declare Christmas Day pajama day this year. lol.

Joined: 06/10/07
Posts: 1692

I'm curious to see how things go this weekend, Cali. I think Michael will crash and go to sleep when we get home but I don't know how Matthew will react. And knowing me I'll still have wrapping to do Christmas Eve so I'll need him to sleep! Lol

Joined: 04/09/06
Posts: 1244

We have let our families know that until the kids are into the pre-teen stage and are easier to deal with, we will be spending Christmas Day at home. They understand, but I don't think they are very happy about it. We would like to avoid meltdowns as much as possible, and I don't think you are being unreasonable to want to avoid it either. We have to travel to see any of our family, and that usually requires a long car trip and hotel stays. So, it taxes our budget and our ability to cope with twin toddler mayhem. Sometimes, DH and I meltdown, which is never a good scenario. Do what you need to do to make things as easy for you, while still accommodating family where you can. We definitely feel guilty sometimes, but our sanity is pretty important. No one wants to deal with two grumpy parents and 3 crazy, crying kids. That is what we tell them anyway! ROFL

Oh, and I would think that making sure that your kids have their security object and a fave toy will help them handle the craziness. Taking their favorite snacks might help. Taking a pack and play and hoping for a quiet place to settle them down for a nap might be good too, but that is a hit or miss idea. They may really resist napping in an unfamiliar location. I know my kids always cry when we go somewhere else and try to get them to sleep.

mommyvolc's picture
Joined: 03/22/07
Posts: 1296

Its nuts, isn't it? I also try to minimize the disruption. We spread Christmas over at least 3 days, so that helps. We also insist on nap time, everyone else can either wait for us or go ahead and we'll join in when we get there. After parenting for 10 years myself, and for DH, over 20, we've learned that a happy child is more important than what other people think our schedule should be. I agree with pp, no one wants grumpy parents and screaming kids - even if it disrupts the schedule of their "perfect" Christmas. We'd rather join in for a bit, and everyone be happy, than go for the whole deal and have unhappy kids and a stressed out mama.

Nicole

AshnBill's picture
Joined: 11/06/06
Posts: 5333

I don't think you're crazy at all! This time of year is crazy. This year shouldn't be *too* bad for us (Miles doesn't nap and Vivi will obviously sleep and eat wherever), but next year with a 1 year old who will still need a nap...sounds fun! Lol

One thing I do is pack along the jammies and bedtime snack. We have about 45 minutes to travel on Christmas Day. I'll put M in his jammies right before we leave, he can eat his bedtime snack and milk in the car, and when we get home he can go straight to his bed. That worked out well on Thanksgiving.

The eating thing is a WHOLE 'nother story - I'm prepared for Miles to not eat anything for about 3 days straight. Sad Whenever we go to other people's homes he gets too busy playing with the new toys, cousins, etc. and has no time for eating.

Lavender444's picture
Joined: 03/27/03
Posts: 1944

Ugh! The eating!! People sneak the kids "just one treat" over and over again. Then tsk at me that my kids are such terrible eaters and don't want to sit at the table. They would eat a lot more if they were not being stuffed with junk right before dinner and, they would sit a lot better if they weren't hyped up on a sugar high.

I'm not shy and tell my family exactly that. But it doesn't stop the same conversation from happening every.single.holiday. :roll:

Cali26's picture
Joined: 02/01/07
Posts: 1040

Thanks for the responses. They made me feel less crazy Smile A lot of my problem is not only dealing with people who are not flexible to kid schedules, but also trying to work with DH in planning out our schedule. DH feels that the kids will eventually adjust and he thinks they will "get used to it". I think after this year, I will have to set things up with the various families to inform them that things will be different next year.

Thanks for the suggestions. I wish my kids would nap away from home, but they won't. I may take Trev for a drive in the car, just to allow him some peace and quiet Smile And I might pack some more comfort snacks (and maybe a pb & j) as those are rarely refused by either boy. Smile

AshnBill's picture
Joined: 11/06/06
Posts: 5333

Cali, i always pack some extra snacks that i know m won't refuse banana bread, raisins, crackers. Things that are somewhat healthy so he has something decent in him.

Cali26's picture
Joined: 02/01/07
Posts: 1040

"AshnBill" wrote:

Cali, i always pack some extra snacks that i know m won't refuse banana bread, raisins, crackers. Things that are somewhat healthy so he has something decent in him.

Thanks! I'm going to do this. I also just bought him some Pediasure which he loves.