How to Manage Children’s Expectations for the Holidays 2021

As a society, we are out of practice with a lot of things due the pandemic experience and holiday behavior is one of these things. Read on for guidance to think about in anticipation of the 2021 fall holiday season.

  1. Not all children remember holiday celebrations of the past. Some children might not remember celebrating the fall holidays and some may never have experienced it. Take some time over the week to talk about holiday celebration etiquette and how to keep the excitement of holidays positive and also minimize stress for the whole family. 
  2. If you have expectations, let them be known. Be specific with children and teens about expectations around mask wearing, distancing, family celebrations and impromptu friend get-togethers. Don’t assume children and teens will follow the daily guidelines and practices. There is a lot of excitement around holidays, and when there is excitement, it’s hard to remember what is expected without reminders. 
  3. Overstimulation can wreck an otherwise wonderful experience. Most children are back in school and after school activities. However, holiday celebrations with different foods, fancier clothing and disrupted schedules can become overstimulating after the reduced stimulation of the past year. Consider the length of the celebration, the location and the amount of people when engaging in celebrations. This may be a year for shorter celebrations that are closer to home with a few close friends.
  1. Prepare for disappointments and meltdowns. When was the last time your child attended a bigger gathering? It probably has been a while. Take time to talk about how to handle disagreements with other children, getting gifts that are not desired and expectations around more formal events. 

5. Prepare for being the host this holiday season. It might have been a while since your household has had visitors and your child may be out of practice with all that goes into being a good host. Make a list of specific activities that make for a good host and review them in the days leading up to the celebration. Establish the guidelines around how and when your child will help and what jobs they can do. Sharing is extra hard during the holidays so discuss ahead of time what special objects your child might want to put away so they are not touched by others. Don’t forget the animals, they too may not be accustomed to visitors after 20 months of restrictions. Take into account how to care for their well-being.

Wishing you and your family a memory filled holiday season! Here’s to one more step in the return to the joys of childhood!

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