Holiday get-togethers often involve lots of people that your toddler hasn't met before, or spend much time with. This can cause sensory overload for a shy toddler. In order to avoid a melt down, first recognize that the bigger deal you make out of it, the longer it will take for them to move along. Nip problems in the bud with these positive steps to ease your toddlers discomfort and subsequently yours.
Things to Do to Ease Toddler's Holiday Fears
1. Trial Run. Start warming up your toddler weeks, or at least days, before the function. Go through scrapbooks of family photos several times to familiarize your shy toddler with names and faces. Put the relatives photos on the fridge and tell stories about the Aunts and Uncles, cousins and other people they might meet at a holiday party. Share funny stories about your sisters and brothers, or brag about your Aunts famous chocolate chip cookies.
2. Ease Into It. Pushing your toddler to hug an unfamiliar relative, is an explosion ready to happen. Give them time to adjust to the new sounds, smells and sights around them before sending them off to play with unfamiliar cousins. Shy children need to process new situations slower than their extroverted counterparts.
3. Prepare the Relatives. Before you arrive, mention to your relatives that your child is shy and needs time to warm up to them. The more boisterous, loving grandmas, or loud uncles may need to be gently reminded to take it slow.
4. Take a Matter-of Fact Approach. This is the hand you were dealt. You do not have to apologize to everyone your toddler scowls at, make excuses or scold her. You also do not have to label your child. Telling everyone she is shy, can be a self-fulfilling prophecy. Just deal with situations as they come and let her grow out of the neediness.
5. Schedules. The holidays can be stressful, especially if you are traveling to an out of town party. Be mindful of your toddlers eating and sleeping schedule. Dealing with a shy child can be draining, practice as much self-care as possible.