relax! With these tips from Shirley, your children (and you) will get through the holidays stress-free

The Christmas note is already in the shops, Christmas decorations are already on sale and before you know it, Christmas dinner should be on the table. A wonderful time, but also a time of stress. Especially if you have children. Shirley is a remedial educator and gives tips for holidays with children.

“December is often an exciting time for children and a stressful time for parents. When parents are stressed, children absorb that feeling like a sponge. Children are often busier or more rebellious than usual. For example, they don’t want to eat, sleep or pee in their pants anymore,’ says Shirley. Fortunately, she has plenty of tips to make the holidays as fun as possible with children!

Tensions and stress

Parties, dinners, gifts: at home, with the family, at school and at the sports club. That’s something, the holidays. Not only for you as a parent, but also for your child. Realizing that is often the first step. Shirley: “The more relaxed the parents are, the better for the children.” In summary, Shirley offers the following tips for parents around the holidays: managing expectations, rest, routine and putting your child first.

As a parent, you naturally prioritize your child. But in the hectic pace of the holidays, you might miss some signals. “Some children become rebellious, others become lethargic. Children’s behavior can often be linked to the tensions surrounding the holidays. It is not at all surprising that they are going to do things differently,” explains Shirley. Good to know!

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Create Wish List | Photo: CJG Rijnmond

Clarity and expectations

This tension is primarily due to the unpredictability. You may already have in your diary when the Christmas tree is decorated and the first Christmas presents are wrapped, but young children often have no idea what to expect. “They don’t know exactly when which holiday is which day or what exactly it means that Sinterklaas is coming to school,” explains Shirley.

Her advice: make it clear what the children can expect and when. Really very clear. So explain not only what the days mean, but also what you want to do where and when. For example with a countdown calendar. Shirley: “That’s where you put what you have to do, when and with whom. For example, that you eat dinner at your grandparents’ house at Christmas, you can unwrap presents after dinner and then go for a walk.”

Gifts are of course nice, but what a child gets can be very different. “One gets a Playstation as a shoe gift, the other a gingerbread. Children are quick to think they’ve been naughty if they get less than a classmate,’ says Shirley. But you can easily solve that: “Just play on that fantasy! Say that Sinterklaas is busy, for example, that a classmate therefore got a present, and your child didn’t that day.”

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Sinterklaas entrance | Photo: CJG Rijnmond

Rest and routine

Rest and routine are also important. Shirley: “Keep the normal routine as much as possible: eat on time and go to bed on time.” She explains why: “So much has changed in those weeks. It drains the children’s energy.” So: rest! We could also use a nap between all the Christmas events.

Shirley: “It’s really a lot of events, they vacation. So tailor it to your child’s needs. Listen and watch them, include them in your plans. See what they can do: is one party enough or can they go to all the parties? ” This is especially important with a large family, parents who are no longer together or two children with different needs. “For example, you go to the grandparents because one child wants to, but the other child can choose for himself what to eat ,” Shirley gives as an example.

Coziness in the first place

For more tips and advice on holidays with children, you can always visit the CJG Rijnmond website. Shirley ends with a nice reminder: “The child is often very tall, and we try to fulfill all expectations. But honestly, when you think back to your own childhood, you really don’t remember the elaborate dinners or big gifts. Most of all, you remember the fun of being together. This also applies to your children.”

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