Stick to Your Child's Usual Sleep and Mealtimes Schedules
It's not always possible when you are juggling the demands of shopping, cooking and travel to stick to your child's usual sleep and mealtime schedules, but maintaining household routines will help ward off tantrums and maintain holiday cheer.
Take Care of Yourself Mentally and Physically
Children sense the emotional wellbeing of their parents and caregivers, and if you cope with stress successfully, your children will learn how to do the same.
Don't Overspend on Gifts
Don't feel pressure to overspend on gifts. Consider helping your child make one or two gifts. The chances are these will be the gifts most treasured by a parent, grandparent or special adult.
Participate in a Volunteer Activity with Your Child
Participate in a volunteer activity and include your child, whether it's helping serve a holiday meal at a local food bank or shelter or writing letters to members of the armed forces who can't be home for the holidays.
Toys Don't Need to be Expensive or Electronic
Toys don't need to be expensive or electronic to make great gifts, but they should be suited to the child's age, abilities, skills and interest level. Be cautious about toys that contain button batteries or magnets, which can be swallowed by small children and cause serious internal damage.
Be Mindful About Digital Gifts
Speaking of toys, if you are considering a digital device for a child or teen, such as tablet, smartphone or game system, think about the purpose of the device and the rules you want to set around its use. Our customizable family media plan can help you set these rules for your family.
Cook with Your Children
Cooking with your children can be a great way to bond over a family recipe and offer a sense of accomplishment to budding chefs. Be sure to follow food safety guidelines, wash hand frequently and keep hot foods and liquids away from the counter's edge. More kitchen safety tips here.
Decorate for the Holidays
When decorating, watch for fire hazards. If you have an artificial tree, make sure it's labeled "Fire Resistant," and if it's live, make sure it's fresh and not loosing too many needles. Keep it away from fireplaces, radiators or portable heaters.
Watch for Small Removable Parts
Keep trimmings with small removable parts out of the reach of children to prevent them from swallowing or inhaling pieces. Find more decorating safety tips here.
Remember That Other Homes May Not Be Childproof
When visiting friends or family, remember that the homes you visit may not be childproofed. Keep an eye out for danger spots like unlocked cabinets, unattended purses, accessible cleaning or laundry products, stairways or hot radiators. When visiting others or hosting guests, make sure that any medications are stored safely away from curious kids. Pay special attention to narcotics and other prescription medications.
Clean Up After a Holiday Party
After a holiday party, clean up immediately. A toddler could rise early and choke on leftover food or come into contact with alcohol, tobacco or vaping products.
Spend Time Together as a Family
Most important of all, enjoy the holidays for what they are- time to enjoy your family. Find ways to spend time together, whether it's on a sled outdoors or over a board game or good picture book.