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How to Improve Your Child's Holiday Behavior - Thanksgiving Survival Tips

And so the holiday ride begins...


We all have parts that long for some ideal family holiday - the way we think it should be or the one we wished we'd had when we were young. This ideal is usually in heart-breaking contrast to the reality of our experience. I asked one of my mom’s recently, “What are you most looking forward to about Thanksgiving?” Her answer was, “Surviving it.” I’m pretty sure she’s not alone.


For stress-sensitive kids, social demand is a HUGE stress. Add that to an unpredictable schedule, loss of routine, stressed out parents, unrealistic expectations and weird food and and it’s no wonder they’re prone to acting out - melting down, bouncing off the walls, and being defiant and disrespectful. 


Here's today's Quick Tip for a Quick Win with parenting...>>Be your child’s ally!


Being your child’s ally means pro-actively making their environment less overwhelming.

Remember, your child has very little control over what happens to them. Your goal is to keep the stress in the environment as low as possible in order to make it easier for them to behave and you to stay calm. 


Try these 3 empowering parenting strategies to bring more ease to the holidays.


 1. SET REALISTIC EXPECTATIONS 


This will also help you stay calmer! Thanksgiving dinner is not the time to teach your child a life lesson by making them stay at the table while everyone talks and eats for a LOOONG time.


❊ Figure out how long you you think your child could realistically stay at the table without becoming disruptive. Then set a timer for ½ that time and let them know that’s how long they need to sit at the table. 


❊ Don’t expect your child to try new foods at Thanksgiving dinner. As a matter of fact, don’t even suggest they try any of the foods. Let them pick what goes on their plate or doesn’t. Be their ally.


❊ Make sure you feed them a good breakfast in the morning before you leave (or your guests arrive) and pack appropriate snacks and a favorite video they choose. Be their ally.


2. KEEP TO THEIR ROUTINE (As best you can)

I know it sucks when you want to keep adulting. However, your child probably can’t handle staying up late without a meltdown or major power struggle.

❊ Be their ally and be prepared to leave the party early. It will make for a much more pleasant ending to your holiday.


3. SUPPORT THEIR CHOICE WHEN IT COMES TO PHYSICAL TOUCH.

Teaching consent cannot start too young!


The whole holiday situation is already overwhelming. Unwanted touch, like hugging Grama or kissing uncle John when they don't want to, can override their agency and trigger their stress response. Unwanted behavior can result as a way to communicate their discomfort. Consent matters.

❊ Be their ally when they don’t feel like being touched. 


If you follow these tips, I believe you'll strengthen your relationship and show your child the following:  

  • they can count on you to be there for them in stressful situations

  • they are not on their own when they feel overwhelmed


These are internal resilience-building lessons that help them develop the social and emotional well-being you want most for them. 


I am so grateful for you…

Happy Thanksgiving! 


(Click the image below for more success strategies to get through the holidays in one piece!)


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