The holiday season seems to start earlier every year. By the time Thanksgiving arrives, many kids will have worked themselves into a frenzy that often is followed by disappointment and tears.
So what can you do to help your children manage holiday expectations?
According to experts with the Amita Health Pediatrics Institute, the first step is to manage your own. Often children are reacting to the signals they are picking up from parents who are increasingly stressed as they try to juggle planning parties, buying gifts, decorating the house, sending cards and all the rest.
If you want your kids to slow down and appreciate the season, try doing it yourself.
Wishlists. For most kids, gifts are a huge focus on the holidays. When it comes to gifts, be honest. With older children, you can have a frank discussion about how your family chooses to spend money. Talk about the relative value of purchases. Even with younger children, you can explain that having a few meaningful gifts can be better than having piles of things that will break or get lost.
Amita Health experts also suggest that you give your children a limit — either a general dollar amount or a number of gifts — and ask them to suggest gifts for themselves within that limit. Then ask them to rank the gifts according to which they want most. Have them revisit their list and their rankings several times — that can encourage them to take a more thoughtful look at their choices.