Ah, the holidays—A time of rest, joyous family time, and the harmonious sound of everyone getting along. Hmmm. That sounds more like a fantasy (or brief moments in time!) than reality. The fact is the holidays often bring more stressors into a family’s life, especially to the youngest members of the clan.
Children thrive on routines and rituals, however, the holidays often bring a more flexible schedule affecting everything from naptimes to snack times, which can contribute to not-so-merry meltdowns.
The holidays can be full of stimulating and fun experiences, such as a special Kindermusik celebration like this one:
However, during this time, it’s important to teach children how to relax even amongst the multiple holiday parties, travel plans, overnight visitors, and family photo sittings. Teaching children how to relax after an activity gives them time to recoup and get ready for the next event. Plus, you know what children want most when they are stressed out? Their parents! So, we put together five ways for parents to help their children relax and enjoy the holidays!
5 Practical Parenting Tips for Easing Holiday Meltdowns
Relaxing is a learned behavior and music can be a relaxation tool for young children (and adults!). Here are some of our favorite tips:
- Rock gently together. When you start to notice your child teetering on the edge of a meltdown, invite your child to step away from the activity and go with you to a quiet place. Gently hold your child and rock together. (Added bonus if you can find a swing or rocking chair!) While rocking together, help your child to label the feelings you saw. For example: “When I saw you stick out your lower lip, it looked like you were feeling sad because your cousin didn’t want to play what you wanted to play. After we finish taking a break together, can you think of something that you both might want to play?”
- Listen to soothing music. On the way home from a holiday party or activity, listen to some relaxing music in the car. Research shows that music can help children and adults relax. In fact, our heartbeats mimic the beat of the music!
- Give your infant a massage while humming a lullaby. It’s never too early to teach children how to relax. During the holidays (well, most days actually!), everyone wants to hold the babies. While a child can never receive enough love and snuggles, it can be overwhelming for babies. At the end of the day, make some special one-on-one time for you and your baby. Give your child a gentle infant massage to relax your little one. Adding a special lullaby makes it even more memorable—and relaxing.
- Create a bedtime playlist. Traveling with young children to see friends and family often means disrupted bedtime routines, whether adjusting to a new time zone or a strange bed. Help to ease your child’s anxiety by creating a lullaby playlist to signal the start and the end of the bedtime routine wherever you may be. This gives your child both a musical and familiar cue.
- Create a baby soother you can take anywhere. Try these DIY baby soothers from Kindermusik@Home.