Hungry, tired and bored are three ingredients you want to avoid in any "Happy Holiday" Recipe. Asking children to be on their best behavior after traveling long distances, sitting at a dining table for long periods of time, being away from the comforts of home or spending the day without the companionship of children their own age can sometimes be asking a great deal. The best defense is a good offense so be prepared in case children are not having a great time or are not in the best of holiday humor.

Tired: Plan extra time for plenty of rest the night before or morning of holiday gatherings. If children require a nap, try to work it in if possible. Even some quiet "down time" before big events can prevent getting overtired prematurely. Bring along regular naptime companions from home (a favorite stuffed animal, doll or blanket) to sooth children in a different environment.

Hungry: Doesn’t everyone eat turkey for Thanksgiving??? If you have a picky eater chances are good that the answer is NO. (Don’t take it as an insult to you or your relative’s cooking.) Holidays may not be the best time to force picky eaters to go "cold turkey." If you wish to avoid food struggles at the holiday table, encourage children to "try" new foods, but plan to bring other "known" food options with you in your bag of tricks. Remember, a hungry tummy often makes for a cranky child. Likewise, if mealtime is much later than usual you may also wish to provide a small snack to keep hunger under control.

Bored: Anticipate children’s needs especially if there will not be other children of the same age present. Holidays can be somewhat boring for young children without any toys or other children to play with. Be prepared by packing a bag of special quiet toys, a favorite video, art supplies, puzzle or coloring books, and games for travel or visiting lulls. Encourage children to visit, but when everyone else is busy, provide them with something constructive to do or play with to avoid getting into mischief.

A final word to parents of young children is to try if possible to keep one or two of your children’s daily routines intact amidst the chaos. Young children embrace routine especially during times of change or confusion. Disruption of nap times, snack times, play time etc. can be especially difficult for some young children. Therefore try to keep a few known routines intact to provide a sense of grounding. Bringing along a favorite companion (stuffed animal, doll, blanket) can also help ease any transitions. (Make sure that it is safely tucked away when you leave your destination so it won’t get lost in transit!) Lastly, to prevent "melt downs" help children unwind from the excitement of the day by giving a soothing bath, reading a favorite book before bed, and adhering to regular bedtime routines as much as possible.

For more holiday information, please see:

Little Ones "Twelve Weeks Before Christmas"  Holiday Toy Series: This holiday series is designed to help parents and grandparents make smart choices by featuring outstanding/award winning "toys that teach," accompanied by reviews which highlight and explain the educational benefits and specific skills children receive from these types of toys.



Little Ones "Top 25"

Award Winning/Outstanding Toy Picks

Top 25 Award Winning/Outstanding Toy Picks

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