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How do you help your child relax during the festive season?

Published December 5, 2022

December is a fun but busy month. During this Sinterklaas and Christmas period, children can sometimes have trouble sleeping in and through, suffer from a reduced appetite, stomach ache, headache, sudden attacks of fever, overwrought or show very busy behavior. How can you ensure that you and the children can relax into the holidays?

Young children often find the Sinterklaas time exciting. This is partly because children up to the age of 7 think magically. They make no distinction between reality and fantasy. What they see is real.

Young children can be afraid of Sinterklaas and/or the Pieten. Take this seriously, if necessary adjust the story to what your child can handle. For example, that Sint and Piet do not come over the roof, but bring the gifts to the back door. Keep in mind that your child can have a relapse due to stress, for example, he or she can start sucking his thumb or wetting the bed again. Don't make a problem of that and see it as a signal that you need to take a step back.

Tips to make December manageable

It is nice for children to know where they stand:

  • Buy an (Advent) calendar so that children can see how long it will take until Sinterklaas and/or Christmas.
  • Agree how often and when the shoe can be put on.
  • Prepare your child for the activities organized at school, such as Sinterklaas, Christmas dinner, etc..
  • Have a goodbye ritual. For some children, the transition from Sinterklaas to Christmas is too abrupt. With a farewell ritual, Sinterklaas can be said goodbye and the Christmas period can be welcomed

Involve children in the holidays

  • Read stories and sing songs about Sinterklaas and Christmas. This is how children learn what is going to happen.
  • Involve your child in the preparations for Sinterklaas and Christmas (decorating, making snacks, choosing clothes, etc.), so that they feel that they are part of the party.

Preparing for the holidays:

  • Think about how you want to fill in the days.
  • Do your shopping on time, this prevents stress!

Follow the needs of your children

  • Keep an eye on how your child reacts to everything and respond accordingly. Try to limit the number of festivities at home and with others.
  • Don't forget to give your child exclusive attention, because of all the arranging, this sometimes falls short.
  • Structure and peace at home will help your child cope better with the hustle and bustle at school. Preferably eat at the usual time and stick to normal bedtimes as much as possible.
  • As tempting as it may sometimes be to say that Sinterklaas sees everything, children can get very stressed out by this. For that reason it is better not to use Sinterklaas in this way. It often only results in extra stress and busyness.

    And besides… try to enjoy these days together with your children!