For children, routines reign supreme.
Children thrive on the predictability and security that routines provide. Routines make sense of the day ahead, and reassure children that their needs will be met. And within this framework of routine, lies a child’s comfort, freedom and joy.
When this routine – regular bedtimes, meals, naps, active times, quiet times, snuggle times gets mixed up, delayed, missed, even forgotten – everyone feels the pain.
During busy social times with family and friends, especially over the holiday season, it’s easy to take on too many activities into our schedule. Being selective, however, is difficult, because most of these activities are fun, anticipated and things we always were able to do pre- children. But without paying attention to how much is too much, we pay the price of melt-downs (both children’s and parents’), fatigue, and disappointment.
It’s helpful to make a list of activities, options, expectations, personal needs of our families and see how everything fits together. You can pick and choose what works best for your family at this time. When traveling with children, don’t expect your child’s schedule to be exactly as it is at home. Children, however, can be very flexible as long as mealtimes, quiet times and sleep times are a predictable part of this new routine.
To spice routines up, especially during the holidays, is great fun and tradition, but just as too much spice can ruin the soup, too many extras can result in frustrating results for everyone.
Try and find the pace that resonates with your family best – that allows you to feel connected with one another, to be relaxed, to be present – and to be able to enjoy just enough “spice” to make your holiday deliciously joyful and memorable!