I love the festive season, I love spoiling my children and I love the social times with friends and family. I love the late nights out and the great food. My kids however become very busy and at times fractious. I know that I may have more cries in December than any other month of the year but I will also have more laughs. So it’s worth it – its what memories are made of. But there are some good tips for keeping the silly season as sane as possible.
Spend time walking round a mall at 3pm on the 22nd of December and you will suffer sensory over load. The smells of food, bright lights of the Christmas decorations, bustling of the crowds and jingle of Boney M playing across the sound systems will push you over the edge. On a sensory level your baby will also find the busyness of the festive season overwhelming.
- Watch for your baby’s signals that he has had enough; these include rubbing his face and eyes, looking away, starting to moan and nagging in older toddlers.
- Watch your baby’s sleep times (see below) as sleep is the best way to combat over stimulation.
- Limit the amount of handling and stimulation your baby has to endure at social events. This is particularly a concern for young babies.
Babies and toddlers don’t do well on lack of sleep, in fact neither do you! So, aim to keep bedtime and day naps consistent. It is tempting to just let a toddler sleep where they fall at night or keep your baby out all day without her midday nap. But at the end of the day it is often not worth it as an overtired baby is more likely to fuss, cry or throw a temper tantrum. Follow these tips:
- If you are going out during the day for a party or shopping, plan to have at least one of your baby’s sleeps at home in the nursery. Choose the sleep closest to midday (between 11 and 2) as this is generally the best sleep of the day
- If you are expecting a late night out that you want your baby/toddler to enjoy with the family, let her have a late afternoon nap and don’t wake her from it. Thereafter stick approximately to her awake times. For example, if you have a nine month old whose awake time is 2 and a half hours and you know that she will be awake as late as 8pm that evening, let her sleep as late as 5:30 that afternoon so she will be pleasant company for the evening’s outing.
- If you are traveling to an outing in the evening, let your baby fall asleep on the way by dressing her for the night and putting her in the Baby Sense sleeping bag which is compatible with car seats so that you don’t have to unwrap her when you arrive at your destination.
Like you, I love to spoil my kids. But the truth is there are only so many toys a child can enjoy. While I am not suggesting you limit the toys your baby receives, follow the following tips:
- Always thank the person for the gift in front of your baby. It will give you great joy next Christmas when your baby has learnt this manner and spontaneously says: “Oh thank you, just what I wanted!”
- As you open the gifts, give the safe paper and box wrappings to your baby – they will probably enjoy the boxes and paper and ribbons more than the gift!
- Once the gift giving is over, choose two toys and give them to your baby to play with. Take the rest of the toys and place them in a cupboard out of reach. This stock will provide great entertainment over the next two months as each toy will be novel and played with properly.
I still need to lose the kilo’s from last year’s festive season but I am really looking forward to the yummy food this festive season brings! If your baby is on solids, this will be the most variety he has probably eaten for a while.
- Steer clear of sugary sweets and foods completely until your baby is at least a year – try for longer if this is your first child. Subsequent babies often get sugary snacks before others as they have toddler siblings who break the rules for them and slip them a sucker before they are even a year old!
- Take a snack trap or little Tupperware with healthy options if you are eating out
- Dilute fruit juices which are too sweet for your baby.
The festive season is fun and a special time for babies and families. The secret to having a great time for all is Balance.
Balance stimulation, gift giving and indulgence with Sleep, calming activities and flexible routines.