With Christmas and other December holidays just around the corner, many parents begin to wonder just how their young sons will handle the more-than-usual number of family gatherings. Particularly for younger boys, family get-togethers can be a source of frustration, and when little boys are frustrated, no good can result!
The good thing about the holidays is that normal routines are disrupted. We get to do things that we donít normally do in the course of our daily lives. The bad thing about having our normal routines disrupted if we have children, though, is that children thrive on routine! While it may be exciting for them to get to see a lot people and to get to go new places, the difference in routine can take a definite toll on them! A parent is left to wonder, then, how she can ensure that the holiday merriment will stay merry Ė even with a tired little boy or two in tow!
As with every situation involving young children, especially boys, preplanning is the key. Spontaneity is great fun before you have children, but it can wreak havoc with your life afterward! On days that you have something out-of-the-ordinary planned (such as a big family dinner), make sure that your son takes a nap before you go. This advice applies whether your son is two or twelve! The older your son is, the more he will protest, of course, but lying down quietly for a time before an event such as this can do so much to start everyone off on the right foot.
Second, make sure that your son is well fed before you even leave the house. This advice may seem counterintuitive if youíre on your way to a family dinner, but rare is the family dinner that starts on time! Rare, too, likely, is the family dinner that has food your son is used to and will eagerly embrace. It is far better to arrive at a dinner with a full child who may not eat well than to arrive with a hungry child who may not eat well! The former child may be fussed over as a picky eater; the latter child will almost always be noted for his fussiness and crankiness!
Finally, although it goes against what many parents believe to be acceptable, if this is a gathering that is primarily for adults, allow your child to bring diversions that you would otherwise consider to be verboten. Even the youngest children have handheld gaming devices these days; now is the perfect time to allow them to come out. If you know that there will be multiple young children at the party, bring along your portable DVD player. Their parents will probably thank you.
So often, parents, especially moms, walk a fine line between wanting to embrace their own lives, and wanting to be sure that they put their kids first. The holidays can really bring this issue to the fore. If you typically have little need for babysitter, you may be hesitant to employ one during the holidays, especially if you are meeting family who truly want to see, but not necessarily hear, your child all afternoon or evening. It is at times like these that you have to get creative in your approach to handling events, and even break your own rules a bit. The resulting lightening of your stress load will be well worth the proactive thinking on your part!