Surviving the Holidays with Young Children

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Surviving the holidays with young children isn't always easy. Nap schedules, picky eaters and late nights may leave you wishing for a silent night. Making a few adjustments to your holiday festivities can make those hectic days easier on your kids and you.

I did not love the holidays when my kids were young. I mean I did, just not every waking (or sleeping) moment like I had imagined. Looking back, there are things I learned after surviving the holidays with my oldest that made our years of holidays after that much easier.

How to survive the holidays with young children

1. Respect the nap- Of all the things to keep consistent during holiday celebrations, naps can be the most important. There will only be a few years when naps are so sacred and keeping your child's nap schedule will make life easier especially since bedtimes will most likely be later. Don't feel guilty about putting your child's needs first. Naps will make days jollier for everyone!

2. Watch the treats- During the holidays our kids always end up with more sugar than usual but keeping a few of their preferred healthy snacks on hand will help your kiddos avoid the sugar crash and ensure that they have something to eat if they are refusing what's at the holiday table. Filing a bag with cheese and crackers, peanut butter and jelly or whatever your child is sure to eat can be a huge lifesaver.

3. Pack the pjs- Wherever you go, bring the kids' pajamas and anything else they like for bedtime. You never know how late you will be out and getting everyone ready for bed before you head for that long car ride home can make a late bedtime so much easier.

Celebrating holidays with young children

4. Be realistic- Take a step back and examine what you are planning for the holidays. Are your kids really going to make it from one event to the next and then to the next all day long? Is the formal dinner you typically attend going to be more work than it's worth with kids in tow? Prioritize what you want to do with what you can do.

5. Just say no- This one can be the hardest. It's not easy to turn down invitations for wine and cheese parties or let family know that you won't be at Midnight Mass this year but sometimes it's for the best. Pick and choose what you can do and what will make the holidays enjoyable for YOUR family, then maintain a unified front when explaining this to friends and family.

How do you survive the holidays with young children?

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Jessica Watson is the mom to five, four in her arms and one in her heart. When she's not doing the minivan shuffle she's homeschooling her kiddos and cooking things they won't eat. She blogs with her heart on her sleeve at Four Plus an Angel, co-directs Listen To Your Mother Metro Detroit and writes for sites such as Huffington Post, Mamalode and SheKnows.

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