Just in time for the holidays, Jo answered 10 questions that all parents and caretakers (at one point or another) may struggle with during the holiday season. From treats and routines to believing in santa and even bundling up the baby, Jo has some of your most burning topics covered.

1) Holiday Treats and Limits. ‘Tis the season to be jolly and most of us feel that way when we are dipping our hand in the candy jar that one extra time telling our little ones, “Okay then, just one more” and before you know it, all the cookies are gone! Yes, it is true we indulge a little over the festivities — and maybe a little too much of this and that. However, I still believe the best way to handle holiday treats is with moderation. Let us not abuse the extra treats we look forward to. In our house it was a given that dad was coming home with a bag full of chocolate gold coins for the Christmas week. We had the responsibility in limiting ourselves to 1 or 2 so that we could savor them every day. The bottom line is limit. Stipulate how many candies your children can take from the box. Do not reward behavior with these holiday treats. Quite simply, if you don’t buy as many, problem solved! Use your common sense. You hardly want to allow them one before they are having a mealtime, and you don’t want to be doing it everyday.

2) Breaking From the Daily Routine. Holiday breaks allow us to cut our kids some slack and create a daily routine that can be fun and flexible. Keep to the cornerstones of a routine: i.e. mealtimes and naps for younger children will be key for stability. You can certainly give and take pushing bedtime a little later if you have relatives over for the evening, or a bunch of kids over for a sleepover, knowing they don’t have to be up and at ‘em early in the morning.

3) Travel Activities. Imagination…remember that? Before the day of too many things to pack, we didn’t have such luxury. It meant that our children would argue and have conversations at the same time in the back of the car. It meant that they would listen to the lyrics of a song and actually learn them and sing along on the next replay. It meant your kids became more observant of the things in life surrounding them beyond the car window. It meant they paid attention, took notice, and questioned with curiosity. It meant that they would have to ‘think’ of what fruit began with ‘P’ and be corrected when a red car was burgundy. It meant that they would draw, listen, or read in altitudes where they couldn’t stop at a gas station. They learned the art of patience behind the eternal question, “Are we there yet?’ It meant that parents didn’t have indecisiveness from too much choice. But what we did have was the journey, because that was always a memorable part of reaching the destination.

4) Helping Prepare for the Holidays. Based on your child’s capability and maturity, there are many things we can do to involve our children in the Christmas festivities. After all isn’t it about all muckin’ in at this time of the year? So instead of me giving you age appropriate tasks, I will list a few and you decide.

Making and putting up the holiday decorations

Decorating the tree

Bundling all the used wrapping paper into one big trash bag

Wrapping prezzies

Making Thank You cards and sending holiday cards

Setting up the dining table

Placing the napkins and decorations on the table

Peeling and preparing veg beforehand

Helping with breakfast in the morning

Filling the stockings for each other’s siblings

Taking the dogs for a walk on Christmas day

Helping with the centerpiece

Help with the shopping

Baking

Helping with outside house decorations

5) Wrapping Presents. The decision to wrap, unwrap, or personalize paper are your own choice. Parents with younger children say “all the presents come from Santa,” so maybe use different paper or different sacks for those. Economically, what is better for you as a family? If you are putting all the presents into one sack it might be a fun idea to use a sleeping blindfold or have your child look away as they dip their hand into the sack and pick the next one (so as not to give away the others that are in the bag). Personally, there is something magical about watching kids faces as they tear the paper off their prezzies. Newspaper or giftwrapping from the dollar store? Who cares?! Kids don’t!

6) Believing and Not Believing. It’s all about the magic and spirit at Christmas. If what once held your child’s belief no longer exists, please do your best to encourage that child to not spill the beans for the younger ones. I have always found from experience that there seems to be this thrill that the older children have just joined the big people’s club and know a secret that the younger ones don’t. But, there is Santa right? 😉

7) Gift-Giving. Like I said above, most parents keep the magic of Santa by buying younger children gifts from their Santa lists. As children become a little bit older, they get gifts from Santa and from family members and so forth. In the tween and teen years, children start to show initiative of buying siblings, parents, grandparents, or cousins little Christmas tokens. I think the best gift you can give your children is the gift of showing charity to others in need.

8) Gift-giving on a Budget. Transparency is key when their Santa list reaches financial limits. Quantity is not the point, but rather eliminating a child’s appetite for much when they’re seduced by commercials around Christmastime, is what is important. Start the Santa list three weeks before Christmas and then have them eliminate, eliminate, eliminate and eventually you’ll get to the bottom of what they really really want.

9) “But Santa will bring that game you won’t let me have!” Santa knows age appropriate toys. Santa knows that video games have age restrictions on them, too! Santa knows what is allowed and what isn’t allowed because his magic elves know each house they send to. Parents also know, too. So there is no harm done as a parent stipulating to your kids that certain games are a no-no. I’m sure those conversations can be had when your flicking through a catalogue together, watching a commercial, or walking the aisles of Target.

10) Baby, it’s cold outside. When we are outside with our children, we want to make sure they are dressed appropriately for such outside conditions. It’s all about the layers! Newborns are not physically active and their body does not regulate temperature until they are over 6 months old. So, four layers of garments are essential for newborns: Under-vest, top layer, second layer, and outdoor layer all in one. Depending on the outer garment for a toddler, we will need to make sure that they have an under-layer, a top layer, and a second layer. Closed feet, hands, and head will keep 80% of the heat in — and in some extreme weather conditions. What will be imperative is the amount of time your child spends outside. As toddlers they have the ability to talk and will let you know if they are too hot (and then you can take off an under garment, as long as the outer garment is kept on). With newborns, please be cautious. Babies will cry if they are too hot or too cold. Be mindful, be cautious, and keep your park visit duration relative to the weather!! NOTE: when indoors, take layers off accordingly.

Happy Holidays!

x Jo
Copywritten by Jo Frost

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More in this category: Teaching Values » Exaggerating » Tantrums » Selective Hearing » Aggression » Are We There Yet? » Terrorism – How to Talk to Our Children About It » Encourage Reading » Keeping in Touch When Away » Discipline » Winding Down Tips Before Bed Time » Stepmom Struggles (Fake Cry) » Stalling Over Mealtimes » Child Anxiety » Sleep Transition » Work and Home Balance » Peek-a-Boo » Let’s Talk About Sex » Confidence for Pre-School » BACK TO SCHOOL » Encouraging Children to Come Out of Their Shells » Spring has Sprung — Let’s Get Active! » Meet the New SAHM: the Work-From-Home Parent » Kids Talk About Love » Turning Winter Blues into Sunshine for the Children » Spending Holiday Time with Family » Change the World, Give Back » Zero Tolerance Bullying » The 10 Dos and Don’ts of Back-to-School » For Playdates & Parties, Don’t be a Helicopter Parent » Disciplining Other People’s Children » Making the Most of Your Summer with the Kids… » Children and Accountability » Settling In Nicely » One With Nature » Valentine’s Day » Charging Into 2015 » Practicing Gratitude » Balance On the Work and Home Seesaw » And So To Bed… » Ready for Nursery » A Time of First Milestones » Eating Habits » HAPPY FATHER’S DAY! » When is YOUR Child Considered Potty Trained? » Child Abuse Prevention Month » Excerpt from Jo Frost’s Toddler Rules » With Love » The Art of Being » Holidays on a Budget » Dealing with Life Transitions » Halloween Crafts » Who Needs Sleep? Everyone! » How Much Attention Should We Give Our Kids? » Young Girls and Self-Esteem » Anxiety, Depression and Teens » A Personal Note About Food Allergies » Gay Parenting » Eating Out with Kids » Flu Season » Plan of Action » Baby, It’s [Getting] Cold Outside » Encouraging Your Child’s Social Skills » Medical Alert » Planes, Trains, And Automobiles: Travel Tips for Children of All Ages » Father’s Day Activities » A Mother’s Day for YOU » Limiting Your Child’s Screen/Tech Time » Letting Go: Mother, Not Smother » Getting Sexy Back After Baby » Introducing A Babysitter » Jo’s Tips For Being Penny-Wise This Holiday Season » Adoption Month » The Importance of Sleep » Parenting Solo » Stay Cool » Household Chores » Jo Frost’s Confident Toddler Care Book Excerpt » How Do I Play? » Jo’s April Editorial » Jo’s Editorial » When Technology Is Ok » Do You Know What Your Children Are Reading? » Calling All New (or soon-to-be) Moms & Dads! » Jo’s Three Nursery Golden Rules » “We Never Have Sex Anymore!” » How your child behaves is your responsibility » How to deal with your Toddler » My son has a problem in the toilet » My 15 month old son will not sleep » My 4 year child is telling me “I hate you” » Work with your baby’s body clock » Starting fresh for the New Year » Twelve Thoughts for Christmas » Naughty chair/spot correct way? » A New Mom To Be » Baby waking too often » How much sleep does she need » Pick me up! » DESPERATE for help!!! » Three year old daughter won’t let others help » How to get my five year old son to stay dry all night long » How to explain death » No more nappies?!!! » Need to Pack On The Pounds.. » Getting my 2 1/2 year old in his car seat » guilt trip or more serious? » My 12 month old doesn’t like to nap in daytime » Big Issues with my 15 year old » Time Out Follow-up » Tummy time! » How do I best help my 18 month old to STTN? » My son won’t use cutlery » 6 year old Reader » Getting my 2 1/2 year old in his car seat » Child won’t drink from sippy cup or cup… » 3 1/2 month old’s sleeping difficulties » Ouch!! » Transition to a new room » Fear of bed time » 10 months – too young to sleep through? » Is it too early for reins? » 3 year old and new puppy » Toddler forcing himself to vomit » Potty Training » I’m a nanny and need help!!! » Help getting my 18 month old to talk » How do I know when to start weaning?? » 3 1/2 yr old daughter wont stop SCREAMING!!!! » Naughty Step Becomes a Game » TEEN IN DESPRATE NEED OF JO’S HELP!!!! » Please Help! » Daily Routine » STUDY HABITS » Paci still a problem » 4 1/2 month old: Should he be eating? » Three-year-old son sleeps only in our bed »
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