Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Easing your child back to real life after the holidays (From LRS)

The holidays affect our lives in many different ways. Our schedules change with our children on winter vacation and we are in more contact with relatives and friends than the rest of the year. The season becomes its own new routine with the home decorated, siblings and parents around much more and parties, or events, that involve traveling or filling the house with friends and family. When the holidays are finally over, as adults, we might feel exhausted, relieved, or as if we just stepped off of a roller-coaster. We can expect that children will experience similar emotions once the holidays have come and gone.  As important as it is to manage the transition into the holiday season for an infant, it is important to ease them back into normal life once the holidays have passed.
Many families culminate the holidays with a decoration exorcism by putting away and throwing out everything holiday related almost immediately. As adults, this might seem practical and a little bit therapeutic, but the sudden change can be a heavy load for an infant to carry. From their perspective, the world has literally been turned upside down.
Take a little bit of time throughout the holidays to communicate to your child with short and clear messages.  Explaining that this is a season and as such it will come and go. This is a perfect way to begin to ease the transition back to normal life. Let them know that relatives will return to their home, brothers and sisters will return to school and the decorations will have to come down.
With an infant in the house, it is especially important to slow the process down.  In the case of decorations, consider the act of taking them down and putting them away less as, “cleaning up,” and more as a family experience.  This process will help your child better understand what the holiday is all about. This does not mean you need to completely alter your schedule.  It is simply giving a little bit of extra time for your child to process and get a little bit of closure. This way, it will not appear as if the “magic” of the holidays just disappeared.  

In the case of toddlers, try giving them their own special box and allowing them to have a few extra days to put their favorite holiday memories away.  They will not fee rushed. They will be given a moment to realize the festive time is coming to an end.
Leaving holiday books on the shelves is another way to make the transition smoother. This is helpful because this allows your child to keep the holidays present with them in all seasons, reminding them that it is something that happens every year. Even though we as adults may not feel the same way, there some holiday books that children like to read year round. The books add to the memories of the wonderful time they just experienced. Leaving some holiday books out will give the child a sense of continuity.
By patiently planning a transition out of the holidays for our children, as well as ourselves, we are modeling the significance of these celebrations.  This simple process allow us as adults the opportunity to take a breath and absorb how beautiful and amazing the holidays are with young children because, after all, they grow up so fast.
Post by: Magdalena Palencia

Monday, April 4, 2011

Parenting During the Holidays (From LRS)

Parenting During the Holidays
Having a new born changes everything in the dynamic of a family and day to day life. When raising  an infant it is important to be patient, let them grow and learn at their own pace and establish consistency and continuity with their everyday activities such as eating, sleeping, bathing and playing. However, with the holiday season approaching, it can sometimes be difficult to maintain the routines, and sometimes we might feel that we have to compromise some of the needs of the infant to get through the stressful season. This does not have to be the case, and the most important thing to remember is to have clear communication and be dedicated to maintain the continuity of day to day activities the best that you can.
During the holidays with relatives, travel plans and general stress the environment of an infant will be affected with many different changes. It is hard and unreasonable to expect nothing to change for the child when clearly our own life and routines change. One of the most important ways to help and infant adapt and know what to expect is to very clearly communicate with them what the changes are and how they will be affected. For example, if you are traveling or visiting relatives, you might want to tell the child, “We are going to be eating at your aunts house today, I know it’s different, but I am here to help you.” Maintaining this level of communication with all the daily activities of a child will reassure them that while their immediate environment is changing, they still can have the level of comfort and security doing their daily routines as when they are in their home in their own environment.
Keeping open communication is also key with your family and friends and whoever you might encounter during the weekend. Different people have different philosophies on raising a child, some friends and relatives might share your way of parenting, while others might come from the “ throw the baby in the air” school of parenting. During the holidays it is important to let your family and friends know beforehand verbally, and by example, in the way that you treat your child, what kind of interaction is appropriate, or not, for you as their parent. Usually, when there is a new baby in the family, everyone wants to touch, hold and play with them. There is a time honored tradition that is called “pass around the baby.” While this is often seen as a way to introduce the child to the loved ones it is important to look at the perspective of the infant. If the child has never met someone before, regardless of who they are in your life, to the child they are a complete stranger who looks different, sounds different, smells different and is completely different to who they interact with in their every day life. For this reason it’s important to clearly and kindly inform your relatives that you would rather give the baby time to know them from their comfortable position in their own time. Allowing the child to be in a comfortable position with your presence, they will be able to observe your interaction with your relatives and you will model for the child your love for your relatives without putting them in the arms of a stranger.
At the end of the day as long as you are keeping the interest of the infant first you will be okay. Of course, inevitably one relative will try to break the kissing record on your babies face, or another may show up with a loud shaker of some kind, if something like this happens don’t worry, it won’t make or break your child’s chance of getting into Harvard, but it will help to let them know what just happened, “Your aunt loves you and she shows it by kissing you…a lot.”
Post by, Magdalena Palencia