Lifestyle

Tips to help you cope with toddler tantrums during this holiday period

Christmas is stressful enough, add your toddler’s tantrums into the mix and it’s a recipe for disaster. As adults we can feel overwhelmed during this time but so do your toddlers.

Let’s take a look at why this happens and how to cope with it.

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Tips to cope with toddler tantrums this Christmas

Routine

Children, especially toddlers, crave routine. They may fight you on sleep times or mealtimes but routine gives them a sense of stability and comfort as they know what comes next.

Christmas time can throw their routine out of balance which leaves them feeling stressed as they face the unknown. Due to their inability to coherently process their emotions and verbally communicate that to you, screaming, crying, lashing out are all the ways in which they let you know that they’re stressed.

Try to stick to nap and meal times as much as possible by working around their routine. If that’s not possible and it goes pear-shaped, don’t blame yourself.

Slow-release presents

If you haven’t had coffee for a while and you drink a quadruple shot flat-white, chances are you’re going to be extremely over stimulated and hyperactive!

This applies to toddler’s opening all their presents at once. They can get extremely overwhelmed with the choice of presents so put most of them out of sight and slow-release them over a couple of days.

Outside play

It’s very easy to spend the Christmas period indoors, eating, sleeping, cleaning or talking with family and friends. Toddlers and children benefit from being outside and getting some fresh air (even if it’s chilly).

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Release them into the backyard with a ball or take them for a walk to see the Christmas lights after dinner. This can be an opportunity for you to stick to your exercise routine as well.

Anticipate to avoid

If you are aware that lunch or dinner at family or friends’ houses are planned smack bang in the middle of nap time, ask to change the meal time, arrive later, or take a portable cot with you. Talk to the host and chances are they’ll be happy to accommodate you.

Whether it’s arriving slightly early to put down your child before the party or whether it means you arrive late, look for solutions to anticipate your toddler’s tantrums.

Accept help

If people offer their help, take it! If you are hosting Christmas and family or friends offer to arrive early and take the children for a walk or drive to get them to sleep or out of your hair, accept it. You can’t do it all on your own, and if you try you may end up having a tantrum of your own.

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This blog was written by Shara Smith who is a psychotherapist and a counsellor with over 12 years’ experience in the mental health, life coaching and self-care sector. While she loves her husband and three kids, she also loves watching re-runs of Sex in the City and baking decadent cookies that only she gets to eat.

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