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How to Avoid Holiday Meltdowns

Tantrums are a normal part of child development. Because young children are still learning how to express their feelings, often times when they are tired, hungry, upset, or frustrated, it causes a tantrum. With so much excitement, fun, and family time during this season, how do we help avoid those holiday tantrums?

Balance Is Key

There are so many activities, gatherings, parties, etc. during the holidays, but don’t feel pressured to say yes to each one. All families are different, but especially with little ones, make sure to keep in mind what is best for your family. A few things you can ask yourself to make sure your family’s needs are put first:

  • Is my child getting enough sleep?
  • Is my child eating enough healthy foods?
  • Are we leaving enough time for down time?

Prepare Your Child in Advance for the Holiday Festivities

With so much going on, it’s important to talk with your children about the holiday festivities and help prepare them for the activities ahead. Young children experience many “firsts” around the holidays, and although exciting, it can be overwhelming at the same time.

Prepare them for all things—big and small—from opening gifts and visits with Santa, to traveling to see loved ones throughout the holiday season. Talk about what to expect, how they may feel, who will they see, etc. Preparing children beforehand will help to make everyone more comfortable and will make the many celebrations more enjoyable.

Bring Things Along to Help Children Cope

Whether you’ll be away for a few hours or away for a few days, bring things along that can help your child cope in a difficult situation. Bring a favorite snack, a special toy or blanket that may calm your child, or books to read for some quiet down time. Having these types of things on hand just might help to avoid a meltdown.


When in doubt, give your little ones lots of hugs, love, and empathy. Remember that tantrums are an expression of a child’s emotions, not an act of defiance. We wish you and your family a safe and happy (and meltdown free) holiday season!

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