Regulating Through the Holidays and into the New Year!
Could it really be that time of year AGAIN?! Thanksgiving kicks off the Winter Holidays and then it’s Happy New Year! Right about now, life picks up speed at a feverish pace, both at school and at home. That’s why it is good to have strategies to avoid being overwhelmed by these fun seasonal events:
- POST! Get out your large monthly calendar, post it on the wall and fill in the upcoming events with your kids
- PREPARE! Look at it each Sunday to prepare for the events of upcoming week
- JUST SAY NO! Try not to have more than 2-3 events planned per school week; it is ok to prioritize and say “no”
- PRIORITIZE! On weekends, don’t overbook! Prioritize and make sure that fun and quiet family time is on the schedule.
- STABILIZE! Keep your children’s routine consistent, especially sleeping and eating schedules.
- MOVE IT! Make sure your kids have plenty of movement breaks! If they get restless at events, make sure you go outside and “get your wiggles out” ahead of time and take movement breaks during events.
- PLAY! Make sure you have time to play with your child daily, even a short time. Your relationship is the ‘glue’ for regulating around all of the different, exciting events!
- SLOW DOWN! If your child tends to get wound up from the excitement of events, integrate calming activities into your routine: warm bath, low lights, quiet music, a cozy space, snuggling and “quiet time” activities such as puzzles, books, coloring, etc.
- LESS IS MORE! If your child has a tendency to get overloaded at group events (or you do), shorten your stay at events i.e. arrive early and leave early.
- TAKE FIVE! Take breaks at prolonged events: walk outside, bring along a favorite book to read or toy to play with together.
- NOURISH! Avoid eating a lot of sugary foods; bring healthy snacks. And don’t forget to drink lots of water.
How you pace your week and prioritize all of the events will model for your children the same skills, and it will help you and your family enjoy the season and each other. Happy Holidays!
Kiegan Blake is an Occupational Therapist, Behavioral Specialist and Director of Maui Center For Child Development. For more information, please call (808) 873-7700 or MauiChildDevelopment.com.