ways you can avoid tantrums this holiday season
Parent Tips, Parent-Child Communication, The Happy Student Podcast

The Happy Student #86: Keeping the Holidays Fun Part 2

For some people, the holidays are too much fun or maybe just too overwhelming. Kids’ schedules get totally thrown off with all the travel, family, and fun. They eat way more sugar and unhealthy things than they normally do. And they can get totally overstimulated by family, activities, parties, and toys. With all of that fun happening, it’s no wonder kids start to have tantrums – they are totally overstimulated and have trouble regulating their emotions, especially when they aren’t having fun because hanging out with their aunts and uncles – a bunch of adults – is not their idea of fun.

ways you can avoid tantrums this holiday season




In this episode, we talk about how to keep the holidays fun by first working on avoiding meltdowns and second figuring out what to do when meltdowns happen.

7 ways you can avoid tantrums this holiday season:

  1. Communicate kindly.
    1. If you can remember to take a breath before your scold your child so that you can instead ask what happened first so you can really understand the situation. First asking what happened will help everyone return to a calmer, more peaceful place.
    2. It will help increase the chances of good behavior down the line by reducing everyone’s stress level instead of adding to it.
  2. Make sure your kids are well-fed and well-slept!
    1. Kids are much more likely to go into an emotional tailspin if they are hungry or tired.
  3. Stick to a schedule and communicate that schedule with your kids.
    1. Help your kids feel better able to handle these unusual days by keeping as much of a normal schedule as possible, like wake up, nap, and bedtimes, eating times, and so on, as well as by giving your kids a heads up about what’s going on that day or what’s coming up next and when the next activity is taking place.
  4. Limit the number of events you go to and the number of people your kids sees all at once (or at least prepare them for the onslaught of new faces).
    1. One big event per day may be the maximum number of activities your child can handle. Kids need downtime, otherwise they’ll get overstimulated and be more likely to throw that dreaded tantrum.
    2. Seeing a lot of people at once that your child does not see regularly can be intimidating even for your teen. Help ease those anxieties by looking at pictures of who is going to be at the gathering ahead of time with your child. Remind your child what fun they had last time with those cousins. This preparation will make it a little less scary to see everyone again.
  5. Review expected behavior.
    1. Remind your child what their best behavior looks like. Go through a few scenarios with them, like, “What will you do if you get a present that you don’t like?” or “What will you do if you are done eating, but most people are still eating and talking?”
  6. Give your child some one-on-one time.
    1. Kids crave their parents’ attention. And if they feel like they haven’t gotten enough of it, they may just make sure they get some by throwing a tantrum. So find some time to sit and eat lunch together or grab a hot chocolate and talk with your child for a nice break between running from shop to shop.
  7. Figure out what your kid’s holiday priorities are and find time for them to do what they want to do.
    1. Ask them what they would like to do so you can make sure they have time for what is important for them too. Because if kids feel like they’re just being dragged around and their precious free time is being wasted, of course, they are going to get upset!=

What do you do when meltdowns happen?

  • If your child is throwing a tantrum because they want to eat the chocolate bar now and you have said that it’s not time for dessert, then ignoring the tantrum or distracting your child with a fun game may be in order.
  • If your child is throwing a tantrum because they are having difficulty regulating their emotions, then giving them a safe space to feel their feelings and talk about it with you is important. So, let your kid be upset and share their feelings – just maybe away from the family and everyone else. You can say something like, “I see that you are really upset. It is not okay to yell and disrupt the party. Let’s go upstairs and work through all these emotions and figure out what’s going on.”
    • Sit with them. Make sure they know you are there for them. Also, make sure that they don’t hurt anyone or anything. Be there for them so that when they’ve let it all out, you are there to talk through what happened with them.
  • During all of this, pre-tantrum, mid-tantrum, and post-tantrum, it’s important to remember to keep yourself calm. Your children feed off of your emotions and will mirror your behavior. So if you notice yourself getting wound up, take some time for yourself for some self-care and remove some things from your to-do list.

The homework is to tell us what you are doing to keep the holidays fun!


I would love to hear your thoughts on this episode. How do you help your children study and get ready for exams?


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