This Worked for Me
…we make present opening easy
My youngest has fine motor delays and does not open presents. In fact, he finds it really frustrating. We take any news toys out of the packaging, check to make sure they are working and ready to go, and put them in a fun gift bag. We use one big bag because that’s what works for him, but you could use multiple bags. All he has to do is pull out the toy or dump out the bag and start playing.
…we have an exit plan
Sometimes, kids get overstimulated and need a break (moms and dads do too). We like to know, in advance if possible, what we can do to give our little guy a few minutes to calm down and unwind. Is there a quiet place we can go? Is it possible to take a short walk outside? Often, a few minutes and a little change in the environment is enough to turn things around.
…we prepare a goody bag
When we travel or people come to visit over the holidays, we fill a bag with familiar favorites that our son will enjoy and a few comfort items. I like to add a special holiday item that’s inexpensive and either relates to the season or his latest interests. I keep it in the bag so that he’s excited when he does see it because it’s not available all the time
…we set reasonable expectations and give ourselves and our kids a break
Holidays can mean stress and pressure. Creating the “perfect” experience so our families can make wonderful memories can lead to tears, tantrums, and meltdown (for moms, dads, and kids). We use tubs of store bought cookie dough to save time and give our kids and easy way to help us bake. We serve chicken nuggets and noodles with our turkey and stuffing if it means picky kids will eat. We try and stay focused on what works for us and not what we think everyone expects. We are honest with our friends and family about what we can and cannot do. We remember to have fun.