The festive season is full of wonder, fun, and oh so much excitement, especially for toddlers. They’re at the stage where they’re starting to understand the festivities, and they can get caught up in the magic of the season. Unfortunately, all the excitement can have the opposite effect, and your child might not cope with everything as well as you’d thought. Our tips might help you learn how to cope with toddler burn out during the festive season.
Before you can put strategies in place to deal with toddler burn out, you need to be able to recognise the signs. These can include:
- Increased irritability
- Changes in appetite
- Changes in sleep behaviour, such as sleeping too much, or trouble getting to sleep
- Isolating themselves
- Headaches, stomach aches or other physical symptoms
- Behaviour regressions such as bed-wetting
- Increased, or renewed self-soothing behaviours such as thumb sucking
These tips can help you keep your little one on an even keel during the festive season.
The festive season is extremely busy with family to see, and activities and events to attend. However, all these things to do can be a bit overwhelming for your toddler. Planning for some downtime in among all the excitement can help your toddler cope with everything. It can help to plan a day at home in between events. It can also help to plan to take a ten to fifteen minute break from the busyness, so bring a book, or a toy that your little one finds calming.
The festive season means that some of your routines are going to change. There will be differences to your toddler’s usual routine. However, you should try to stick to the general outline of your day. Keep your naptimes, mealtimes and bedtimes the same. Your toddler will enjoy the consistency, and this can help them cope with the changes during their day.
When you’ve got plans for the day, let your little one know about them. A picture schedule might help, or even give a heads up half an hour before the event. Many toddlers feel better able to cope when they’re involved in making the plans, or even just feel that they’re in the know about what’s happening.
Giving your toddler a task to do can help prevent them from burning out. You need to be sure that the task is something age appropriate, and something that they’re capable of doing. Completing the task can help give your toddler a sense of accomplishment and build their self-esteem. You’ll need to resist the urge to re-do anything your toddler does. It really doesn’t matter if the napkins aren’t in the right place, or if the name is scribbled on the wrong side of the envelope.
The holiday season usually means a massive amount of food. Between large meals, desserts, cookies, chocolate, sweets, selection boxes, and everything in between, it’s easy to overeat. Try to keep everything in moderation for your little one. Too much food, and too much sugar can make your toddler crash.
Exercise, and getting out in the fresh air can help your little one cope with the excitement of the festive season. Even taking a short walk can have a huge impact. Schedule time in each day for your toddler to be active, play, run, or whatever they prefer to do.
For children, much of the excitement of the holiday season comes from gifts. However, too many gifts at one time can be really overwhelming for your little one. Try to string the gifts out so that your toddler is only opening one or two at a time. For the big day, you might want to consider stringing the gifts out over the course of the day or focus on one big gift instead of many smaller gifts.
Children take a lot of the cues and reactions from their parents. If you’re overwhelmed, your little one is likely to end up feeling the same way. Measure your own reactions, and make sure that you take steps to stay calm and enjoy the festive spirit.