Eliminating Holiday Meltdowns in Children

Eliminating holiday meltdowns in children can be a challenge, especially when they don’t get the gift they wanted or asked for. A moment that was supposed to be filled with gratitude suddenly turns into disappointment and even poor behavior. Is there anything we can do to stop our kids from having meltdowns when they don’t get what they want?

Eliminating Holiday Meltdowns in Children

Children are bombarded with celebrity brands and peers who seem to have all the cool stuff, which can cause kids to want bigger, brighter, and more budget-busting gifts. But there are ways we can eliminate holiday meltdowns in children by modeling gratitude and appreciation.

I don’t think we can squarely blame our kids’ meltdowns on others, but children are influenced by what they see and hear. So it’s up to us to help them learn how to manage their emotions by modeling acceptable behavior.

Eliminating Meltdowns by Setting Family Expectations

Children do better when they understand our expectations of them. Think of it as the ground rules for creating a memorable day. Learning to be grateful is something they learn by watching us.

Something that helps is for us to be intentional about expressing appreciation for things others do for us and the gifts we receive. When you model gratitude and thankfulness, your children listen and learn how to do the same.

Kids often act out because they are disappointed and do not have the maturity to think clearly in that moment. We can help them by teaching them the purpose of gift-giving.

Focus on the Meaning of Gift-giving

Our children will benefit from the joy of gift-giving and receiving for years to come. But, it takes some children time to understand the meaning fully. Here are just a few reasons we give to others. (Note: expecting a gift because we deserve one is not on my list.)

  • Religious practices
  • Time to think of others
  • Something personal and from the heart
  • To show love

Make your own list and write them down for your kids to see. It will be a visual reminder when they forget and will help eliminate meltdowns should they feel ungrateful.

I’ve given a few ways to reduce meltdowns, but there is more we can do daily that will help our kids.

Addtional Ways Parents Can Eliminate Meltdowns

  • Set Realistic Expectations. Children learn through repetition. Talk about what isn’t permissible and what you expect.
  • Serve Others
  • Encourage Appreciation. Give your child words they can use to express appreciation for the thoughtfulness of others.
  • Teach Coping Skills. Provide ways a child can express their feelings with you privately.
  • Redirect Attention. Focus on what they did get.
  • Implement a Wish List Tradition. A wish list is for things hoped for, not expected.
  • Involve Them in Purchasing and Giving. Kids learn budgeting, spending their own money, and decision-making.
  • Discuss Feelings. Give kids an opportunity to say why they are sad without the fear of being lectured. We all have to learn how to express our feelings.

Reinforce the idea that the holiday season is about spending time with loved ones, creating memories, and enjoying shared moments, not getting everything on a wish list. We must emphasize the value of non-material aspects of the holidays.

Remember, each child is unique, and it’s essential to tailor your approach based on their age, temperament, and individual characteristics. Patience, empathy, and open communication are critical in addressing holiday meltdowns.

I hope you enjoy this episode. I know you want to raise kids who are thankful for the gifts they receive because someone wanted to give them something.

References and Links

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Eliminating Holiday Meltdowns in Children
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