The holidays can mean BIG stress for little ones, just as they can for adults – from changes in the daily routine to family squabbles and more. To help keep the season running smoothly for everyone, Angela Santomero, creator and executive producer of top-rated preschool series Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood and a child development expert for more than 20 years – as well as a mom herself — has some terrific tips to share. Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood offers practical parenting strategies in each episode. Here are some from Angela inspired by the series:
• Create Your Own Holiday Traditions – These extra special family rituals will make the season less stressful and more meaningful for everyone. Don’t worry about not sticking with traditions that you grew up with or trying to make everything “perfect.” Whether it’s going to a community show, baking or crafting paper lanterns together, each year offers the opportunity to strengthen your own family’s traditions and make wonderful and lasting new memories!
• Get Your Children Involved – Kids love to participate and to feel like they’re an important part of the holiday preparations, so have them help make place cards, work on decorations, put out gifts, etc. It’s a great way to help get them excited about the festivities – and one less thing for you to have to do, too!
• Prepare Kids for New Situations – Encountering unfamiliar situations can be stressful for young children, so, as Mom Tiger told Daniel, “When we do something new, let’s talk about what we’ll do.” Before going to a holiday party or gathering, let your child know what they’ll experience and who may be there. This will help them relax and feel prepared for what’s ahead!
• Teach Preschoolers to Be Thankful – Did your child get something that wasn’t exactly on their wish list? Let them know that, while it’s OK not to like every gift, it’s important to show their appreciation and remember that someone was thoughtful enough to do something nice for them! Encourage them to make thank you cards to further underscore the importance of being grateful.
• Reinforce the True Meaning of the Holidays – At holiday time, there’s so much pressure to buy, buy, buy. Parents can help head off disappointment by reminding kids that they may not get everything they want. This also provides the perfect opportunity for parents to emphasize the importance of giving to others during the holiday season – and that the most special “gift” of all is spending time together!
And remember, Daniel Tiger’s new holiday episode — Winter Adventure/Neighborhood Nutcracker — begins on December 17.