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14th Dec 2019

Christmas can be overwhelming to young kids – here’s how to make it easier for them

Trine Jensen-Burke

toddlers at Christmas

Visitors, visits, presents, shopping, excitement, Santa, sweets and everything else December throws at us – is it any wonder the Christmas season can seem a little overwhelming to young kids?

Much as Christmas is lovely, and a time when we finally have time to just be and enjoy spending time with those we love, let’s keep in mind that to toddlers, this time a year can be pretty full-on – and that in turn can sometimes be a little too much to handle for little people.

Many of us find ourselves travelling over the holidays, or opening our doors to host extended family – and we do it because we want our children to enjoy the bond of family, we want to make memories they will treasure, and we want our families to be able to enjoy and soak in our children too. But it can be intense – sure we know that as adults, so just imagine how crazy it can feel for your little one.

Expectations give us goals but if the plan isn’t working, change the plan with toddlers. Listen to them and watch them and if they sound or look overwhelmed, they probably are.

However, there are some easy steps we can all take to ensure Christmas is a less stressful and manic time for toddlers – and more enjoyable then, in turn, for all of us.

1. Talk it out

Your tot might be too young to care about the entire Christmas itinerary, but if something major is happening that day, like meeting Santa, or you are picking granny up from the airport, tell him – kids like being prepared for what comes just as much as us adults.

2. It’s OK to say no to things

December is a month filled with invitations to things, from end-of-year shows to nativity plays and Christmas parties. But when you have young kids, you might be better off prioritizing the things that really matters, and not try to do too much, especially if these things involve extra stress like travel or bedtimes being pushed out. Downtime is important, and look – there is always next year.

3. Try to stick to routines

If you have children, you are no doubt already aware of how they thrive on routine, and how any abrupt changes to this can be a total recipe for disaster. So try, as much as possible, to stick to routines your child. is used to, be it mealtimes, bedtimes or any other routine your family normally lives by.