We all love Christmas. It is such a joyous and fun occasion as we gather around the table together, eating, drinking, and merrily opening gifts. That is until one of the toddlers blows a gasket.
What a way to kill a holiday buzz. But you do not have to put them on the naughty list or suffer through the wailing. Here is how to handle those toddler tantrums during the holidays so you can get back to all that Christmas cheer.
1. Shop smart
Even if your toddler loves to shop as much as you do, she is going to hit a breaking point. Take along snacks and sippy cups to keep her at bay. Also, be smart and make a game plan.
Do not just wander around aimlessly trying to find gifts. Or you can avoid an entire headache by shopping for everything you need online. It’s actually what I do to avoid the kids seeing what I’ve bought for them.
2. Take a wait and see approach to Santa
All children LOVE to get gifts from Santa. But not all of them are keen to sit on his lap for a photo at the mall. If you take your little ones over to the mall, cruise by the area where Santa photos are taken and let her take a look. If she seems disinterested or even afraid, then keep on moving. Forcing her to do it for tradition’s sake will only lead to an epic meltdown.
3. Stop the demands before they start
My youngest had a habit of pointing at the TV during almost every commercial and telling me, “I want that!” My response? “Too bad, I have already bought all your gifts. You will just have to be a good girl to see what you will be getting.”
If she persists, I let her know that she will get nothing. I kept my response consistent each time, even when she cried. Now that she knows what my response will be, she has stopped asking and has gone on to other endeavors when her favorite shows cut to commercial.
4. Teach them proper present etiquette early on
You know it is going to happen. Grandma is going to give her a sweater. For my girls, they love clothes. But if your kid was hoping for a new toy and Grandma’s big gift is a hand-knitted sweater, even if it is the coolest sweater of all time, your child will get upset.
This is when having a chat well before the gift giving day arrives will bode well for you. Sit your tike down and tell them about how gifts come from the heart and that it would hurt Grandma’s feelings if she knew her sweater was not liked.
Appeal to this side and you will find that your kids will at least smile and thank Grandma before stuffing it into a drawer never to see the light of day again.
5. Keep kids busy
Kids always want to feel useful. While they love to play, even if there are other children around like siblings, cousins, or friends, you can’t expect them to hole up in another room for hours on end coloring or amusing themselves.
They want to help out so let them. There are many ways to do this like letting them be the gift elf that hands out the presents or have them put the bows on the gifts you’ve wrapped. Give them candy canes to hang on the tree. Just let them feel helpful and you will not hear any whining.
6. Let them out
This is important no matter what climate you live in. Keeping kids trapped indoors is a recipe for bratty behavior. If it is snowing outside, bundle up and go make snowmen, have a snowball fight, or make snow angels.
If it is just hideously cold, take a walk to warm up and make hot cocoa when you return. You can also hop in the car and take a drive to look at the Christmas lights. But even if you just turn them loose in the yard, that fresh air will do them, and you, a whole lot of good.
Ultimately, using your creativity and anticipating what will set off your child is the golden ticket here when it comes to thwarting toddler tantrums at Christmas.
And should one arise no matter what you do, keep calm, be consistent, and know your child will eventually calm down and go back to normal. When they do, go spike your eggnog and you will soon feel holly jolly again.