The Magical Season of ROUTINE???
One of the best teaching strategies and behavior modification tricks is a solid and consistent routine. Nothing makes a child feel more comfortable and at ease with the space they are in than knowing what comes next and what to expect as their day unfolds.
As you look ahead to this holiday season you can already see the distortions and changes that present themselves to your everyday routine. If you are looking for ways to make this season enjoyable and your children healthy and happy, give a great deal of attention to routine. The hype of the season is all around us, but our regular routines can still be embedded in our crazy schedules.
If relatives are arriving on different days, try to make something visible to help count so your children have a number of days to get themselves ready for the change. Tell them where everyone is going to sleep and where everyone is going to sit at the dinner table. These little hints may seem silly to you, but believe me it will make an amazing difference to your children.
If your child’s daycare schedule is going to change, let them know about that in advance. Let them know that Grandma and Grandpa or Aunt Sally want them to stay home so they can have more time with them. These opportunities at verbalizing what is happening helps your child to see the future as you do. Remember that our children don’t look ahead. They totally live in the moment and don’t worry about tomorrow. By verbalizing what is going to happen ahead of time, it gives your child a chance to ask the questions that are making them nervous or unsure.
Another tactic that really helps during the holiday season is to help your child to find ways to help or practice giving in some way. This can help to take the focus off themselves and help them to see another side of the holiday season. If the whole season is just about what they want from Santa, you will have trouble on your hands. Focus on helping each other with family chores and creating opportunities for everyone to help. Create a gift wrapping center of scraps and tape and let them color pictures and wrap them up and put them under the tree. If they have their own center they will leave yours alone and feel so helpful at the same time.
If possible, try to keep bedtime routines as much the same as possible. This can be such a wonderful time, but not if you have tired and cranky children.
These are just a few hints that if put in place will hardly seem noticeable to anyone but yourself and they can make a world of difference to your children. Have a wonderful holiday and enjoy every day with your great kids!!!