The holidays are a time of excitement and magic for kids, but they can also come with unexpected dangers and can be stressful, even for children. Your kids are very in tune with what you do and feel, so if you’re uncomfortable, remember that they might be too. With some small efforts here and there, you can make your family’s holidays safe and fun for all involved.

  1. Stick to a routine as much as possible – and have good reasons when the routine changes. Kids do best with a normal schedule, and the holidays can really turn schedules upside down. Keep to regular mealtimes and bedtimes whenever you can to provide a sense of normalcy in the midst of what can feel like a chaotic time. But, when appropriate (for example, Christmas Eve), a change in the plan is exciting. Make sure to explain your family’s unique traditions so kids can join in the fun and anticipation.
  2. Many family holidays revolve around food. This is great, but on days that are not Thanksgiving, Christmas or other family traditions, do what you can to continue feeding kids healthy meals. Too much rich, heavy food can contribute to stomach problems, sleep issues and more, so the more kids eat what they’re used to eating, the better!
  3. When traveling, remember to bring along essentials for health and comfort. Packing isn’t only about clothes. Stow away necessary medications as well as any other items that help your child feel safe and comfortable. This might be anything from shoe insoles if your child suffers from flat feet to a treasured blanket or stuffed animal that is soothing and familiar. Make the trip fun but also include as many reminders of home as you can.
  4. Follow holiday safety tips for children, such as utilizing non-flammable decorations, keeping breakable decorations and metal hooks out of reach, checking electrical cords and sockets for any damage, and ensuring that car seats are properly installed and an emergency kit fully stocked in your vehicle.

By keeping to your routine and using your common sense, you’ll be going a long way toward providing a holiday experience for your kids that’s full of the magic you remember from childhood. Happy holidays!