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Keep The Holidays Stress-Free, Merry For Children

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RALEIGH, N.C. — The holidays are magical for young children, but sometimes all the excitement can be a bit much.

Christmas through the eyes of children are what the holidays are all about, but the excitement of Santa, presents and sweets can be too much for little ones. No matter how young or old a child is, keeping him or her in their normal routine is the key to preventing holiday meltdowns.

"Regular routine is very important for children, so you want to try and keep them on as regular a routine as possible," said registered dietitian Tammy Baker.

Sugary treats are everywhere. Experts say it is OK to let your children enjoy them, but make sure they have a healthy meal first.

"Save those treats for after the meal. Keep them out of reach, so the tendency will be to go to those healthy foods first," said Baker.

It is important to make sure your holiday outings center around more than just food.

"Concentrate on the people and the activities, not just the food," she said.

When you have a lot to do, let your children help. They can pick out a gift for their grandmother or help in the kitchen.

"I'm trying to let them help -- being involved with baking, teaching about baking for the holidays and wrapping presents," said mother Tonya Kirkpatrick.

Do not cut back on some family traditions or events, as tempting as it may be. Cutting out things that children look forward to all year can actually create more stress.

Instead, find some quiet time each day to relax or maybe read with your child, take a nap or listen to holiday music.


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