Solutions For Parents


How Much is TOO much for the holidays?

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With so many holidays being celebrated between October and January, parents often find themselves in the position of deciding how much is too much and still allowing their child to have fun.  This question can be applied to gifts, candy, food, activities and much more. 

Gift giving has been a centuries old tradition, however it has changed drastically in the past 50 years.   What once was celebrated by giving a gift or two, possibly homemade, and a family dinner has now turned into a fury of commercialism.  Lets take a look at some of the problems that surround the holidays for many families.



Have you ever found yourself saying “I spent all that money and they liked the box more than the toy” or “they had more fun with the wrapping paper than the toy”?  Do you find toys or games that never make it out of the box or get played with once and tossed aside?

You may even feel your efforts have gone unappreciated by your children.  At some point we are all guilty of it . . . OVERINDULGENCE.  One of our biggest rewards as parents are to see our children happy.  At the holidays, retailers take this desire and capitalize on it.  It’s never too late to reestablish gift-giving rules in your house.  Why you give gifts.  What does it mean to your family.  Incorporate your values and traditions.  You may be worried that your children will be disappointed on that special day but you will be surprised that they will have a greater appreciation for what they actually do receive and they will look forward to family traditions from year to year. 


Here are some great suggestions found on the Internet:

  1. The Four Gift Rule for Holiday time:
    One thing they want
    One thing they need
    One thing they wear
    One thing they read
  2. Wrap 25 children’s books you already own and have your children alternate opening one a night  and read that book together or have the child read the story to you.

  3. Each child can write down several things they would like to do as a family and over the course of the holidays you can rotate through the lists and enjoy spending time together.

  4. Play holiday music and take turns telling favorite holiday stories/memories or create scrapbooks that can be added to each year.  This is a great way for parents to share their experiences as a child with their own children.

  5. Bring your child into the kitchen to help cook.  Let them experiment with utensils and encourage them to help, not just watch.



Ex:  Build a snowman with your child and have hot chocolate

       Build a tent in the living room and watch a favorite
       holiday movie

       Take a drive to see some holiday lights or displays







Cookies, Candies and Ohhh that Holiday Dinner

There is nothing that can put you in the holiday spirit faster than smelling a favorite family recipe cooking in the kitchen.  Here are a few tips to keep you and your family feeling your best throughout the holidays.

  1. Everything in moderation
  2. Feed the children a light meal or snack at home before a going to a party if you think the menu might not be conducive to your child’s eating habits. They will be less likely to fill up on the goodies and sweets once they arrive.
  3. Adults also can have a light meal or snack at home to prevent overindulging at a party.
  4. Substitute one family traditional food with one “new” healthier option. Also try using healthier ingredients such as olive oil when cooking your old favorites.


Schedule Overload

Try to imagine if you had a meeting at work during the day, clients coming in from out of town, two important deadlines to meet this week and you were in charge of the holiday office party on Friday . . . Sometimes that is how children feel when the holidays come.  There are parties at school, parties with the family, gifts, shopping, and their everyday responsibilities.  That can be a lot to juggle depending on the age of your child and their personality.  Take the time to decompress.  Get plenty of sleep.  A ten-minute power nap in the late afternoon can do wonders for a busy family. 

Remember if you are feeling tired or overwhelmed with all the holiday cheer then your children probably are as well.   

Turben Developmental Services wishes you and your family a happy and safe holiday season.

Ask Dr. Susan