Surviving Christmas with Your Kids

By Joey and Carla Link
December 15, 2021

We thought this would be a good time to take a look at some of the most-asked questions we get at this time. Think about what you would do in response to the questions before you look for our answers below. 

Question 1:  There’s lots to do and events to go to and your 6 week-old baby has been held by others a lot more than normal and her sleep schedule is off. She is overly fussy and is taking longer than normal to fall asleep for her naps and is waking up at night. What do you think the problem is? How are you going to deal with it?
 Question 2 Your mother-in-law doesn’t agree with laying the baby down to settle himself to sleep. She brings it up in front of others confident they will agree with her because she wants to rock the baby to sleep. How are you going to handle this? 
Question 3: Your toddler is throwing fits and isn’t napping well, which is out of character for him. What do you think the problem is and how are you going to handle it?
Question 4 Your toddler doesn’t want to wait for others to open their presents on Christmas Day. She wants all hers first, and keeps asking when she will get to open another present. What are you going do to?
Question 5:  Everyone else is letting their kids have unlimited treats and videos Christmas Day. Your kids are starting to whine. What are you going to do? 
Question 6: Your 5 yr. old doesn’t want to share one of his new toys with his cousins at Christmas. What are you going to do? 
Question 7: What do I do when my kids misbehave in front of their cousins and won’t pull it together when I tell them to? 

1.Remember that your routine is there to serve you. Do not become a slave to your routine. On the other hand, don’t forget that the byproduct of too much flexibility in your routine will be a fussy, unhappy baby/toddler. 
·Plan ahead to see how what is on your calendar will affect your child’s routine. If your children are well-rested, they will handle the stimulation that comes with the holidays better.
·Speaking of stimulation, every time your baby is passed to someone else or they are in an environment that is not normal to them, especially a loud, noisy one, they will get edgy and over-stimulated. The more toddlers are with other people and the more freedoms they get because you are busy, the more overstimulated they will get. Overstimulated kids are crabby kids.
·The only way a baby has to work off stimulation is through crying. Toddlers work it off by running in circles around you.
·Get a sitter or ask Grandma to stay home with the kids so they get to bed on time for naps and nighttime sleep.
2. If Grandma lives near you, this is an issue your husband needs to take on since she is his mother. Speaking as a grandma who doesn’t live near any of my grandchildren, rocking our little ones to sleep once or twice while we are visiting isn’t going to hurt the baby’s sleep routine, although since we know the baby will wake up happier if he/she falls asleep on their own, we try to get our rocking in at other times.
3.On of the biggest problems yet one of the biggest parts of the Christmas season is summed up in the word “anticipation”. Little kids don’t handle it well at all. Getting constantly asked what they want for Christmas makes them think they should and will get the things they talk about. They don’t understand when they don’t. Too much anticipation is too much stimulation. Only you can slow their pace down, make sure they eat healthy meals and get more than enough sleep.
4.Talk to her a couple days before Christmas. Ask her if she knows why people get presents. Show her all the presents under the tree. Ask her how many should be hers, how many should be yours and your spouse’s, and how many each of her siblings should get. ·       Divide them into piles so she can see how many each might get. Then ask her what she should do when you are opening your presents and go through the entire list too, including all who will be present at any gift-opening time. ·       Ask her what she could do while she is waiting for her next present. Let her know there are a couple things none of you can do. One is to ask for a present to open. Another is to run to someone to “help” them open their gift. ·       Let her know she will be sitting by you or her dad so you can remind her if she forgets. Go through this again before you start to open gifts.
5. The dread of every parent who works hard to be good stewards of what their kids watch on TV, how much they watch, and so forth. Unlimited freedoms make discontent, aggressive kids. 
·Talk about it with your older kids before the day comes. They already know it is going to happen.
·Remind them how upset they get when things and cousins get out of control.
·Ask them how they can handle their free time with their cousins.
·In these situations, planning ahead and having a plan is the way to enjoy a stress-free day for you and your older kids. Encourage them to take games to play and have fun contests going as they play, like whoever loses the most hands at Uno© has to stand up and sing “Frosty the Snowman” at the top of his lungs in front of the whole family. 

6.We were appalled when our son, then 2 yrs. old was showing his new toy airplane to one of his older cousins on Christmas Day and he stomped on it while laughing, breaking it into many pieces. His parents did nothing, including replace it. After that, we would tell our son before his birthday or Christmas that we would put his new toys away in our room until he got to play with them, because we had lots of things for the kids to do other than play with his new toys. We told him he would get to play with his toys and we couldn’t wait to watch after everyone had left.
7. The holiday season is meant to be a joyful time for families to come together. Family gatherings are not the time or place to work on things with your children. However, if they are misbehaving and don’t respond to your reminder or warning, then take them to a secluded room and deal with them there. Our kids knew they got one warning and then had to sit in an isolated spot by themselves until we told them they could get up.       

Go over your expectations the day before you go or everyone comes to your house. Include reasons why each one might cause trouble. Is it because he is always left out? Does a cousin always make fun of him/her? Is he showing off? There is always a reason. Ask them if this happens what they could do instead of cause trouble for the others and themselves. Ask them to tell you again the day of the event what they can do instead of getting into trouble.No matter how carefully you plan, you will need time after the holidays to get your routine and kids back on track. If at all possible, try to clear your calendars and allow yourself that time. Remember to enjoy time with your spouse too! Why not plan a special date just for him?