For many families, the holidays bring to mind images of family time, memories in the making and time spent with friends and neighbors. But when there's an infant or toddler in the home, holidays festivities may be a little challenging. Children may not respond to the events of the holiday season with the enthusiasm their parents (or others) might expect. In fact, for many children, the holiday season can present a variety of challenges and anxieties.
To prepare yourself, and your child, consider some of the age-appropriate behaviors that young children might exhibit during this very busy time of year.
A Fear of Santa
He's loved by millions across the globe, but to a very young child Santa can be scary. Children ages 2-3 may experience anxiety about strange looking people. If your child hesitates to sit with Santa, avoid forcing the issue, or keep your child in your arms and stand in for a family photo.
Fear of Strangers
Grandparents eagerly await the holidays so they can spend quality time with their grandchildren, but if your tot hasn't spent much time with his or her grandparents, don't expect the child to quickly warm up to his relatives. Give your child time to meet and greet relatives, and to approach them when ready. Ask relatives to hold off on picking your child up, or hugging or kissing your child until it's clear that he's ready for the attention.
Fear of Strange Sounds or Sights
Who doesn't love holiday music and beautiful light displays? Young children may not welcome strange sights and sounds, and loud and unfamiliar noises may be especially scary to them. Introduce a timid infant or toddler gradually to these strange experiences, so he'll learn to love them as much as you do.
Grumpy Behaviors Due to Change in Routines
The holiday season throws just about everyone off schedule, but toddlers and infants who are used to a routine may not adapt well to the change. Grumpy behavior, crying or temper tantrums may result if your tot skips a nap or experiences a change in his or her schedule. Do your best to keep to your child's routine, and don't be afraid to adjust your holiday schedule if your child doesn't respond well to the changes.
Source: Tidewater Parent Magazine